Grad Students’ Video on Regenerating Gecko Makes Next Round of NSERC Contest


The ability of the tiny leopard gecko to regenerate its lost tail is the focus of a video made by University of Guelph students for a national science competition.

The video by Rebecca McDonald and her classmates in the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) looks at regeneration for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) contest. The “NSERC Science, Action!” competition offers cash prizes for short, creative videos designed to interest Canadians in science and engineering research.

The minute-long OVC video has been named among 40 finalists in the contest. The 25 videos attracting the most views from Feb. 1 to Feb. 28 will be shown to a judges’ panel to compete for 15 cash prizes.

The Guelph entry focuses on research by biomedical sciences professor Matthew Vickaryous looking at why some body parts regenerate while others cannot.

McDonald said the gecko can lose and regrow its tail after being attacked by a predator, making it the closest reptile to humans capable of appendage regeneration. Injuries to the gecko can heal without leaving a scar.

“Our research aims to understand the biology of regeneration and eventually bring humans closer to successful wound healing and repair,” McDonald said.