Mouse embryo engineered to have six legs, could work on people too

Biologists at Portugal's Gulbenkian Science Institute were studying a particular gene involved in the formation of mice spines when they got a big surprise. Turning off the Tgfbr1 gene in mouse embryos caused the animals to grow an extra set of legs.

"I would actually expect the same would happen in humans, but of course, this cannot be experimentally tested," said lead researcher Moisés Mallo.

Probably a good thing given the extra limbs grew in place of the mouse's genitals.

According to Big Think, "the researchers are hopeful that their study will improve our understanding of abnormalities that occur during human embryo development, given that mammals share many of the same early developmental pathways."

They intend to further investigate Tgfbr1's implications on the development of various body structures, such as the immune system. Meanwhile, understanding the gene's influence on DNA structure within cancer cells could reveal new insights into how the disease spreads.

Previously: Genetics insights may extend lifespan