Research Topic

Regeneration from Cells to Limbs: Past, Present, and Future

About this Research Topic

All organisms maintain some potential to repair their tissues after injury or other disturbance, often coordinating their parts to provide some degree of regeneration. Although ‘regeneration,’ a semantic category with a multitude of meanings, has been investigated since antiquity, many fundamental questions ...

All organisms maintain some potential to repair their tissues after injury or other disturbance, often coordinating their parts to provide some degree of regeneration. Although ‘regeneration,’ a semantic category with a multitude of meanings, has been investigated since antiquity, many fundamental questions remain unanswered regarding the mechanisms involved, their degree of evolutionary conservation or novelty, and the extent to which we can hope to control and harness them for biomedical uses.

This Research Topics aims to address these and related questions in their biological, biomedical, philosophical, and historical dimensions, examining mechanisms of regeneration across the animal kingdom and how they have been studied in specific research programs, cultural and national contexts, and animal model communities. We welcome novel research contributions (Original Research, Review, Perspective, Hypothesis and Theory, and other article types) in both biology and the history and philosophy of science from investigators working on the cellular and molecular bases of regeneration on a broad range of organisms, ideally including unicellular organisms, invertebrates such as planarians and cephalopods, and vertebrates such as lampreys, urodeles, and mammals.

The large variety of organisms and disciplinary perspectives serves a double purpose: on the one hand, we will provide an up-to-date and stimulating overview of the field in all of its breadth and potential. On the other hand, the evolutionary span from unicellular organisms to higher vertebrates will allow appreciation of the complexities of regeneration – as a biological phenomenon and also a biomedical frontier, with all the promises and uncertainties coming with this status. In this connection, a defining feature of this article collection is the involvement of (and collaboration between) scientists, historians and philosophers of science, towards a wider and deeper perspective on the multiplicity of the animal models that are, have been, and could be involved and the historical and societal contexts that influence the choices of models used.

Such collaboration will afford fresh and challenging perspectives on the evolving relations between biology and medicine. For instance, we will explore why some organisms have historically emerged for studying ‘regeneration’ and discuss how and why new models can emerge, including for regenerative medicine. We will also explore the limits that certain models impose on research. By bringing these scientific and humanistic groups into interaction, we will uniquely provide a deeper understanding of regeneration, transcending the multiple boundaries among biological scales, models, disciplines, and ways of knowing.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
● Conserved cellular and molecular mechanisms
● Regeneration vs. development
● New tools to investigate regeneration
● Tissue engineering in regeneration
● Animal models: past, present, future, advantages, and limitations
● Local, national, and institutional cultures of regeneration research

A full list of accepted article types, including descriptions, can be found at this link


The Topic Editors wish to thank Kathryn Maxson Jones and acknowledge her contribution as an intellectual leader in this project through her role as the Co-Leader (with Dr. Jennifer Morgan) of the Neuron Regeneration Working Group through the James S. McDonnell Initiative based at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 July 2021 Manuscript
12 November 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 July 2021 Manuscript
12 November 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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