Reuters recently brought up some research into how salamanders do that whole regenerating limbs thing:
In salamanders, the blood vessels contract quickly and limit bleeding when a limb is cut. Skin cells quickly cover the wound and form what is called a blastema.
Researchers thought these cells must be pluripotent stem cells — the body’s master cells, which retain the ability to start growing into any kind of cell in the body.
These cells are found in days-old embryos, but quickly differentiate — becoming the various cell types from muscle to nerve to skin or blood.
Tanaka’s team found the blastema is not full of embryonic-like stem cells, but something slightly more mature.
“It is likely that cells at the amputation plane are indeed undergoing reprogramming events that allow them to re-enter embryonic programs of tissue formation, even if they do not revert back to the earliest pluripotent state,” they wrote.
They might be able to figure out how the cells reprogram themselves. And if they do that, then we’ll all be able to grow back our missing fingers, hands or whatever else.