Researchers at Tufts University may have the answer following a bizarre experiment with tadpoles.
During the research, scientists removed the eyeballs from the tadpoles of African clawed frogs and then implanted them in to their tails. Using a special color-coded tank it was possible to determine that the new eyes were functioning correctly - the tadpoles were literally able to see out of their behinds. Even stranger, it turned out the eyes weren't connected up to the brain at all yet still appeared to be in full working order.
The research opens up the future possibility of performing transplants that don't require a direct connection to the brain. "There are many implications of this study, but the primary one from a medical standpoint is that we may not need to make specific connections to the brain when treating sensory disorders such as blindness," said study co-author Michael Levin.
"Get ready for custom eyeball transplants for people who absolutely must have eyes in the backs of their heads - or pretty much anywhere on their bodies."
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