Thousands of people undergo skin grafts each year to repair burns, birth defects or wounds. Previous studies have shown that mice born without p63 have no skin and malformed limbs. Humans with p63 mutations often have cleft lips or other malformations of the teeth and skin. In adults, loss of p63 function is associated with metastatic cancer. The research could also inform development of methods to coax adult cells to behave more like embryonic ones and generate fully functional skin.