Remember this article from this post?
Well, Tufts is keeping busy with Xenopus & membrane potential in development and they are blowing my mind.
The researchers achieved most surprising results when they manipulated membrane voltage of cells in the tadpole’s back and tail…”The hypothesis is that for every structure in the body there is a specific membrane voltage range that drives organogenesis,” said Pai. “These were cells in regions that were never thought to be able to form eyes. This suggests that cells from anywhere in the body can be driven to form an eye.”
To do this, they changed the voltage gradient of cells in the tadpoles’ back and tail to match that of normal eye cells. The eye-specific gradient drove the cells in the back and tail — which would normally develop into other organs — to develop into eyes.
(via Changes in bioelectric signals trigger formation of new organs: Tadpoles made to grow eyes in back, tail)