Thursday, November 29, 2012 | Categories: Episodes
Photograph by Only Alice/Phototree
Saving endangered Mexican salamanders for medical breakthroughs - Luis Zambrano
We started this segment with the sound of the water lapping in the canal of Xochimilco in Mexico City. The waterway attracts tourists and locals alike. And there's lots of fabulous colour along the water of the canals.
There's plenty of colour beneath the water as well, though many visitors are unaware of the salamanders that make their home here. The Aztecs called them Axolotls, which may mean water monster. But there's nothing terribly monstrous about them.
Now, these little salamanders may even hold the key to significant medical breakthroughs. Axolotls have the amazing ability to regenerate almost any part of their body if it's damaged or even severed. In a few minutes we'll hear more about medical research in Canada that depends on the axolotl.
But at the moment, the axolotl may depend on us. The salamander faces extinction and Mexican biologists are working hard to save it.
Luis Zambrano is leading that effort. He's the director of the Ecological Restoration Laboratory and Biology Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
We reached him in Mexico City.
Saving endangered Mexican salamanders for medical breakthroughs - Stephane Roy
Stephane Roy's laboratory at the University of Montreal is a long way from the canals of Xochimilco. But its denizens are a key part of his research.
Stephane Roy is one of a network of international researchers who use the axolotl in their work -- but he is the only one in Canada. He joined us from our Montreal studio.
This segment was produced by The Current's Ellen Saenger.
Other segment from today's show: