Regenerating limbs that have been cut off is a power reserved for comic book heroes and a handful of primitive animals.

But scientists believe it may be possible to unlock the secret to regrowing lost limbs after identifying a set of genetic switches that allow creatures like the axolotl to regenerate parts of their bodies.

The primitive amphibian, which is a type of salamander found in Mexico, can regrow its legs, tail and even parts of its spinal cord.

The scientists found it shares a genetic mechanism with two other creatures that can regenerate tissue – the zebrafish and a ray-finned fish from Africa called the bichir.

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