Scientists have shown that eyes transplanted onto the tail of a tadpole can still see - and say their results are 'stunning'.
The Daily Mail in Britain reports that the discovery has many implications, especially in the fields of regenerative medicine, and it quotes biologists at Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences.
"The (tadpole's) ability to see when ectopic eyes are connected to spinal cord and not directly to the brain was stunning", said Dr. Michael Levin, who led the research.
"A primary goal in medicine is to one day be able to restore the function of damaged or missing sensory structures through the use of biological or artificial replacement components.
"There are many implications of this study, but the primary one from a medical standpoint is that we may not need to make specific connections to the brain when treating sensory disorders such as blindness."
For the experiment, biologists surgically removed the eyes of donor tadpoles and grafted them onto the posterior of recipient tadpoles, which induced the growth of ectopic - or abnormally placed - eyes, said the Daily Mail.
Recipient tadpoles had their natural eyes removed, so only the ectopic, spinal cord-connected eyes remained.
The team found that just over 19 per cent of the animals with optic nerves that connected to the spine demonstrated learned responses to the lights.They swam away from the red light while the blue light stimulated natural movement.
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