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How can we apply bioelectric signals in medicine and regeneration to facilitate longevity?

Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain Jul 31, 2022
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Come up with the best possible applications to use bioelectric signals for clinical and therapeutic solutions.
Since Watson and Crick’s (and more rightfully Rosalind Franklin’s) groundbreaking elucidation of the structure of DNA in the 1950s, the field of biology and medicine has almost entirely been developed on the central dogma that DNA codes for RNA and RNA codes for proteins. Given all the evidence from modern molecular biology and advances in biochemistry and computation, this central principle of the biological world has to be the most successful model - from the first principles of biological assembly to therapeutics and drug design.
Like any other sub-field within biology, the central dogma of biology has so far dominated the field of developmental biology, which makes the basis for regenerative medicine. How, after meiotic recombination, an embryo forms and how that embryo develops into a full-fledged adult organism through time has been only viewed from the lens of central dogma: the DNA has all the information encoded in it, and throughout the process of an organism’s development the information is differentially utilised (as a controlled biased expression) to form proteins such that differently specialised cells are formed which form the anatomical apparatus that we call as the ‘body’ of the organism. This way of understanding the development of biological organisms has worked well so far, yet, hasn’t been useful, especially in tackling the medical problems/questions related to organ/tissue regeneration.
Some background:
However, the beauty of science lies in the pursuit of alternative hypotheses. In what seems (at least to me) the most non-canonical approach to explaining the developmental process is Professor Michael Levin’s idea of bioelectric signalling as the basis for anatomy. This idea is so fascinating, both in the fundamental philosophy and its potential, that it might be the most important idea in biology since Darwin. Professor Levin and his lab have used the planarian—a type of flatworm about two centimetres long- to effectively demonstrate that evolution has not hard-coded a set of specified movements that turn tadpoles into standard frogs; rather, the electric potential and the gradient across the cellular microenvironment guides as a signal for differentiation and organ formation. The same has been described when salamanders regrow amputated limbs back. This notion directly challenges the existing idea that the information for the growth of organs and anatomical fate effectively comes from the blueprint in DNA. They have evidently proved this by using different models of planarians: for example, when these tiny organisms are perturbed in their early developmental stage, not at the genetic level but just at the protein level, by expressing ion gates ( ion-gates are proteins that pump ions in/out of the cells, also called voltage channels), the bioelectric pattern created by this alteration decides where each organ forms. In other words, copy the natural pattern of bioelectric signals for, say, ‘eye development’ and express ion channels to the abdomen: voila! You get eyes in the abdomen. This is extremely interesting and mind-boggling!
Scaled up to higher organisms, this idea has the potential to revolutionize regenerative research and accompanying medical fields. This might be exactly what the human race has needed to meet its dream of longevity.
Read in detail the ideas:| Bioelectric signaling: Reprogrammable circuits underlying embryogenesis, regeneration, and cancer
H+ pump-dependent changes in membrane voltage are an early mechanism necessary and sufficient to induce Xenopus tail regeneration
Watch Professor Levin's talks:
Standing on these ideas, what do you think would be the best uses of bioelectric signalling in biology, medicine and health?


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