Wednesday, May 4, 2016

'Jaws' May Help Humans Grow New Teeth, Shark Study Suggests

Sharks (Great White pictured) constantly regrow their teeth through out their lives and now scientists have discovered that humans have the same network of genes the fish to do this. It has raised the prospect that humans may one day be able to regrow their own teeth by switching these genes back on
A study has been done to help identify the network of genes that allows sharks to develop and regenerate their teeth throughout their lifetime. The genes allow the sharks to replace rows of their teeth using what they call "a conveyer belt-like system". Scientists have known for awhile that some fish have the ability to do this but didn't exactly understand how it happened. But a research team from the University of Sheffield's Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, led by Dr. Gareth Fraser have pin-pointed out a special set of epithelial cells form called, dental lamina. The dental lamina is responsible for the regeneration of tooth development in the sharks throughout their lifetime. 
Humans have a set of cells which causes the reproduction of replacement teeth, but only two sets are formed, baby teeth and your adult teeth. Dr. Fraser actually stated that although sharks are seen to be fearsome creatures, but one of the main reasons that they are successful predators is because of their sharp teeth that regenerate quickly and are replaced before they are able to decay.
I think this is actually a really great finding which if it became fully developed could really help a lot of people. I know that some teeth decay and fall out but if this were to continue, people could regularly replace those fallen out teeth if that were to happen. It would definitely have to be tested and thought out properly before it goes through. I can see how this research can be bad in some ways for dentists. I know that I am hoping to go to dental school after college and you have to learn about how to implant new teeth if one were to fall out, so that would take money away from the dentistry world. 


  1. This could be very useful in saving money on dental work for some people. However, the idea of regenerating teeth invivo is unsettling. Would the regenerating teeth push out old ones that do not need repair? This would certainly create more business for the tooth fairy. However, I'm wondering if there is some way to create this invitro so a real tooth can be replaced for a damaged one instead of ceramic or fake teeth that are used now that need replacing every so many years. This was very interesting and thought provoking.

  2. Brianna above made a great point. My fear would be that there may be a malfunction where it may push out old teeth that do not need repair and are perfectly fine. Also, how painful would it be to have the tooth be replaced once one falls out? Would it be more painful than having a regular process of tooth replacement or would the pain be intensified because of the speed of the replacement? Would medicine or treatments to maybe help with the pain and make it a smoother process.

  3. I think the process definitely sounds interesting and could be helpful for some. I personally would not want to go through the whole process again. I hated when I lost a tooth and having to wait for a new one to grow back. There was a point when I had no front teeth for the longest time. I rather just pop in dentures and call it a day.

  4. Brianna does make a really great point. Honestly reading this, I never even thought about that. That's something that would have to be further looked into by scientists and researchers. Also, I think that it wouldn't be too painful because it's like losing a regular tooth. Growing up and losing my baby teeth never really hurt so I don't think the process would be painful. And yes losing teeth and having new ones grow in does take a decent amount of time, I guess dentures would be a better way to go in this case.