How do you grow wings?


Quick Answer

Human beings cannot grow wings. Science has progressed to the point where researchers are able to use stem cells to grow certain body parts, but wings for people is not one of them.

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Full Answer

A tissue engineering breakthrough in 1997 occurred when a surgeon grew a human ear by implanting cells from a cow into an ear-shaped mold, and by growing a human ear on the back of a mouse. Similarly, when stem cells are used to grow body parts, it's called regenerative medicine. Most tissue engineering and regenerative medicine research is aimed at creating functional skin, bones and organs in laboratories to save or improve people's lives. In 2013, two researchers were able to use stem cells to grow complex inner ear tissue, with the ultimate goal of repairing hearing loss.

If wings could be lab-grown in this fashion, they still would not be attachable to a human, because humans do not have a preexisting place for them on their bodies. Humans do not have any existing musculature to incorporate the new body part.

Genetic engineering is when foreign DNA is used to modify a host's DNA, resulting, for example, in fish that can glow. It would not be possible to alter a human's DNA to allow it to grow wings because of the sheer number of genes required. Ants are genetically identical to each other, but only some ants grow wings, like the queen. The genes that grow wings are already present in all ants and are triggered by the ant's environment. This is too complex a process to be able to insert into human DNA, as it would require a countless number of genes to engineer, from the genes for the feathers to the bones to the connecting musculature.

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