Apparently not satisfied with simply building robotic body parts, the Department of Defense has now announced a brand new effort that it hopes will one day allow it to regrow actual body parts. Dubbed the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (or AFIRM), the new group will explore the use of stem cell research, among other things, to "reconstruct new skin, muscles and tendons, and even ears, noses and fingers." Or, as the Army surgeon general that'll be overseeing the program puts it: if an animal like a salamander can regrow a lost tail or limb, "Why can't a mammal do the same thing?" Not surprisingly, the institute apparently also won't be hard up for resources, with it boasting a budget of about $250 million for its first five-year period, and it enlisting the help of three universities, including Rutgers, Wake Forest, and the University of Pittsburgh.

[Via Slashdot]

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