Dr. Poss states that the main goal behind the study is to understand more about how regeneration works and to inform the human race of their full potential. He says that in their studies they have learned that there is potential of activating the genes responsible for regeneration that we all have in our bodies. In result of much research done on zebrafish, research has found molecules such as neuregulin 1 which regenerates heart muscle and fibroblast growth factors which make regeneration of zebrafish fins possible.
What was learned by Dr. Poss and his team is that TREEs are present during the embryonic stages of development. Dr. Junsu Kang who is the lead researcher on Dr. Poss's team found that a gene called leptin b was turned on in fish when they are injured and after sorting through 150,000 base pairs in the sequence, he found an enhancer element. He split the enhancer element into two separate parts and fused one with the fibroblast growth factor and one with the neurogulin 1. In result transgenic zebrafish whose fins and hearts had extremely superior regeneration after injury to both their fins and heart. Furthermore, a collaborator Dr. Brian L. Black at the University of California attached one TREE to a gene called lacZ and found that by borrowing the elements from the genome of the zebrafish, it activated gene expression in injured paws and hearts of mice.
From this large advancement in technology, Dr. Poss and his team plan to further study these types of elements so that they can understand what controls regeneration. The ultimate goal of regeneration research is to one day enhance surgical processes and ultimately biologically and natural 3D print (create) organs and limbs.