It's a huge scientific breakthrough: a team from Tokyo's Research Institute for Science and Technology has designed a method for regrowing lost teeth. But you could also call it the newest bio-punk accessory: the regrown teeth have a fluorescent glow.
Scientists have been looking at embryonic development and experimenting with organ regrowth for years. This team was working on regrowing 3D organs in place. Their experiments were a success, and they were able to regrow teeth in laboratory rats.
To make these glowing regrown teeth happen, first the team created a "germ," or a seed from which the tooth can grow. This germ was coded with the fluorescent glowing dye to track the tooth development. Then they transplanted the tooth germ into the jawbone of a rat. Finally, they tested the regrown tooth. The team found that the teeth were essentially as strong as natural teeth and were able to grow nerves throughout, making them very similar to naturally developed teeth.
In the research team's experiments, the fluorescent glowing dye was a side point, but it isn't hard to imagine bio-luminescent add-ons catching on in the future. Imagine showing off your new glowing teeth to your friends, or even growing a full head of fluorescent pink hair. It could mean a whole bio-punk movement: body modification taken to the next glowing level!
For now, though, the medical implications are as exciting as the aesthetic. The successfully regrown tooth experiment means being able to replace more complex organs more easily in the future.
Fully functional bioengineered tooth replacement as an organ replacement therapy [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]