As a result of their lifestyle, Gila monsters have come up with some ingenious adaptations with one in particular impacting medicine in a massive way. GMOs have emerged as one of the mainstays of biomedical research since the 1980s. Microorganisms are widely used in modern medicine, and this is because microbes are an amazingly diverse population. Pacific Prime is an insurance advisor that offers local insurance solutions and a wide range of plans to cover businesses, individuals, and families. Not so useless now eh? Crabs are supposedly only bled once and then released back into the wild so let’s just hope that we don’t drive these incredibly useful critters down to dangerous levels for our own purposes (because we’ve never done that before). In Unani system, it is stomachic and useful against chronic dysentery. Fortunately, the maggots simply fall out when they are finished eating and cleaning. Our own RV Investigator has just returned from a journey off the coast of Australia, where the team on board were sampling the deep abyss, and found all sorts of mysterious life. Mean, angry, surprisingly speedy and armed with 50 centimetre long canines (this sweat research is starting to seem more impressive isn’t it?). Let’s get this ball rolling with Scorpions. This red gooey stuff understandably called for further investigation and so a research team in Japan (Ed: where else?!) Only a mother could love ‘em: why cockroaches and termites are great parents. In medicine, genetic engineering (GE) is used to make biopharmaceutical drugs. Horseshoe crabs have therefore revolutionised the biomedical industry and every drug and surgical implant must now be tested using this method. What’s more, you can spend an entire day frolicking in a muddy pond and this stuff still won’t wear off – brilliant. But as more types of bacteria grow resistant to conventional antibiotics, medical scientists have come back full circle to sphagnum, proving that it indeed has antiseptic properties. Screening involves exposing a small amount of the sample under question to the crab blood, if endotoxins (toxic substances released by E. coli and other dangerous bacteria that can severely endanger the human immune system) are present, the blood will clot and the whole sample will be rejected. Sheep blowfly larvae are used to treat diabetic ulcers, bedsores and gangrenous wounds and are a useful alternative for antibiotics. Tetracycline is used to treat pneumonia, whereas Ampicillin is used to prevent and treat meningitis. Some of the uses of these organisms are followings: Cellular and Medicine Research Some of the jellyfishes such as Aqueorea victoria show bioluminescence. Take these compounds, mix them with some sticky hippo mucus and you’ve got a substance made up of tiny structures which absorb light by breaking up its individual molecules. Staff at the ANIC are trying to find out. This information applies to prescription medicines that contain, or are produced by, genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Crabs are easy to collect, their blood is easy to harvest and the whole testing process only takes up to one hour. For example, one of the first mutations Morgan isolated is known as white; flies with this mutation have white eyes (instead of red)9. What other uses might we find in all that diversity? 6 Surprisingly Advanced Ways Animals Use Medicine. Research organisms may also reveal novel biological processes that can become important technologies for use in research or medicine. Green Bottle Fly, Lucilia sericata. According to legend, the South American Indians knew to drink the waters from beneath the tree whose quinine made the waters bitter. By understanding our biodiversity, the Earth’s life support, we can discover the value of our native species in our everyday life. This simple process of the crab’s immune system first interested scientists over 30 years ago, but it is still continuing to benefit medicine every day. Animal skin has long been used in the treatment of burns all around the world, … Long before pure chemicals were manufactured in labs, people used plants for medicine. Beautifully decorated and slow moving they may be, but lethal harpoon-shooting menaces? If a tanker leaked and oil began to get into the water, these bacteria could be released to break down the oil. Scientists clocked the fact that these weird looking things hadn’t altered anything about their make up and yet have consistently thrived despite what nature (and mankind) has thrown at them so, naturally they figured they deserved a closer look. From bullet proof vests to artificial ligaments, the possible products are numerous; but up until now, researchers haven’t been able to gather the stuff in large enough quantities to carry out the required research. Males often settle arguments with a good old fashioned brawl and with teeth so ridiculously big, the animals are able to deliver some impressive cuts and scrapes. Really informative and mind bobling thought s. We love hearing from you, but we have a few guidelines. Keeping on the subject of arachnids, the horse shoe crab may resemble a rather bizarre crustacean but they are actually more closely related to spiders and scorpions. of MP), Jabalpur Division, Jabalpu r, India By breaking through the membrane that separates the brain from the bloodstream, scorpions are able to swiftly disable their prey. Cyclosporine is one medicinal chemical in fungi. Today, there are over 100 active ingredients derived from plants for use as drugs and medicines. This is most definitely the case with the horse shoe crab and it’s in the crab’s curious blue blood where their secrets to survival lie. Scientists have used bioluminescent organisms for various medical and scientific purposes. Australia has over 5,000 known species of fish, with at least one new species being described every month. Whether it’s the depths of a jungle or the reefs of an ocean, the flora and fauna on our planet have generally been around a lot longer than us and as a result, they’ve come up with some ridiculously efficient methods of combating whatever poses a threat to their survival. Chances are, Salvarsan didn't make your list of most important drugs. Molecular biologists at the University of Wyoming have found a way to connect the spider silk gene responsible for making silk protein to the part of a goat’s DNA that controls which tissue will produce the protein (a mammary gland in this case). If you’ve been around for millions of years and always lived in a giant cess pool (the ocean) you’ve probably been exposed to a crazy amount of microbes and gotten pretty darn good at fighting them off. This plant has a reputed position in Ayurveda and Unani systems of medicine. Press enter to see results or esc to cancel. Sun block, antiseptic and insect repellent. Today, they're the best option for those who prefer a natural treatment for their ailments.. Surgeons currently carry out this risky business using changes in blood supply, colour and texture to differentiate cancerous cells from healthy ones and while this works sufficiently enough, there will always be room for improvement. The National Cancer Institute now estimates that 65 percent of all cancer drugs come from natural products and those found beneath the waves appear to be offering particularly unique solutions to some of mans biggest problems and are currently taking medicine to new levels. The first bacterial medicines — bacteria like E. coli programmed to dispense therapeutics — are on the horizon. Another name for this is genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. Antibiotics are substances produced by microorganisms that kill or inhibit other microbes which are used in the treatment of infectious disease. The solution? But seriously, once the guys in the lab find a way to mimic the properties of this magical sweat, we’re going to have a lot to thank them for. To address the issue, a doctor in the seaside town of Fortaleza is trialling the use of fish skins to treat burn wounds. The clinical trials that have been conducted to date are providing very promising results. LAL is now used worldwide as a standard screening test for bacterial contamination. Quinine is a bitter alkaloid used not just to flavour your tonic water, but also to treat and prevent malaria. Genetically modified bacteria were the first organisms to be modified in the laboratory, due to their simple genetics. One convention in Drosophila, which Morgan initiated, is naming mutations to reflect the nature of their phenotype (the observable effects of the mutation). Credit: Calibas, GNU Free documentation license. It may still be a while before doctors can use this tumour detection process though, as research is still being undertaken to discover a suitable dye that will be approved by the FDA. When the chemical solution is exposed to light, it becomes toxic and this characteristic has been harnessed as a treatment. Precision is obviously paramount when cancer cells are involved, as if any are missed or left behind chances are the tumour will grow back. In the wild, proteins in the scorpion’s venom attach to the nerve cells of their victims enabling them to paralyse their prey. 7 Living organisms that aid modern medicine in the weirdest ways 1) Giant Yellow Israeli Scorpion Pronounced HEE-la, the lizard lives exclusively in the Southwest United states and parts of northern Mexico and spends 95% of its life underground. They stay rooted to the same spot all their lives and don’t look like they have anything particularly interesting to offer other than brightening up the sea floor. From luekemia treatments to combating herpes, sponges are continuously impacting medicine in a positive way and as there is still so much to learn, it would appear we have only just started to scratch this vast spongy surface. Tasty. Which countries have the best healthcare in the world? However, use of genetically modified bacteria outside of the lab has been limited by concerns that they—and the sometimes novel genes they carry—could escape into the wild. As a species, we have often looked towards a higher power to try and find all the answers. Tilapia is widely farmed in Brazil. The possibilities truly are endless, so here are just 7 incredible living things that have either already benefited medicine, or are about to do so in unbelievable ways. Everything from cancer-fighting bacterial pigment to malaria-thwarting chemicals in your gin and tonic, here’s our top five list of medicines derived from nature: A bacteria from the bottom of the seafloor that lives in almost total darkness has provided the basis for a new therapy to treat early-stage prostate cancer. It is now known that the quinine interferes with the metabolism of the Plasmodium parasite that is transferred by mosquitoes and causes malaria. Later, in 1825, when soldiers of the Indian Army were being given quinine to treat malaria, they began mixing it with soda water and gin to achieve a better taste, and thus, the gin and tonic was born! But of course, you’d be completely wrong. Gila monsters don’t eat often but when they do, they gorge themselves and therefore need the hormones in their venom to moderate their glucose levels and stimulate a steady production of insulin to aid digestion. Pacific Prime is an insurance advisor that offers local insurance solutions and a wide range of plans to cover businesses, individuals, and families. Although it’s one of the few lizard species on earth that produces venom, the Gila monster has caused no human deaths and is really just a colourful lizard with a pretty painful bite. Medicine is a continuously growing field with new discoveries occurring almost everyday. Spider goats! This cell is then combined with an egg which will hopefully develop into a female goat that possesses the special gene enabling her to produce the silk protein when she starts to lactate. Well turns out Hipposudoric acid also acts as a super powered antibiotic and actually completely inhibits the growth of bacteria as well as fending off insects. In the first experiment, E coli that grew on particular types of tumour while ignoring healthy tissue were harvested from a readily available probiotic. These days the process is supervised by “maggot nurses” often in the comfort of the patients’ homes. Other medical uses of probiotics include treating eczema, reducing the duration of the flu or common cold, and … which attaches itself to cancer cells within minutes of being introduced into the body. While we’re on the subject of marine life, let’s move on to cone snails. Scientists are also working with bacteria and fungi to help breakdown garbage. Not bad for a scaly dribbling reptile! An alternative to morphine made by venomous snails? As the solution circulates in a patient, doctors shine light directly inside the tumour, which causes toxins to be produced that result in damage to the tumour. The properties of spider silk are nothing new to scientists, but the possibilities of actually being able to put the characteristics of that silk to use are now becoming more realistic than ever before. More than 800 of these spongy compounds have been discovered so far and a large number have shown promise in the prevention and fighting of cancer and even the HIV virus. Some bacteria cause disease in man, requiring treatment with an antibiotic. GM microbes, plants, and animals also revolutionized the production of complex pharmaceuticals by … Not only is this mixture able to scatter visible light rays over the hippo’s body, it can block ultra-violet rays too; which explains why hippos aren’t walking round resembling giant ill-tempered tomatoes. In other words, female goats are making silk in their milk. It's a peptide made by joining amino acids together. For example, GM animal models of human genetic diseases enabled researchers to test novel therapies and to explore the roles of candidate risk factors and modifiers of disease outcome. It is used against bronchitis, anaemia, urinary problems, asthma and also as a diuretic. Staff at the ANIC are trying to find out. 6. Could we find similar uses for our 21,000+ native plants? Fresh roots serve as an excellent remedy for jaundice. They are currently used in the United States, Europe and at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia. These single-celled organisms have foreign genes along side their own DNA. Antibiotics are produced in nature by molds such asPenicillium and bacteria such as Streptomyces and Bacillus. Researchers have discovered sponges contain complex chemical compounds which they employ as antibiotics to fight off harmful bacteria. The resulting compounds would not hurt the environment. Discodermolide, an anti-cancer agent harvested from deep sea sponges has already progressed to the human clinical trials stage and if successful, it will be a powerful growth inhibitor of tumours and help prevent further abnormal cell division. Eventually a drug compound mimicking the pain blocking properties of the venom was produced and named Prialt. But somehow spider alfalfa just doesn’t sound quite as cool…. … There has been a long history of using Drosophila genetics as a tool for understanding biology dating back to Morgan's experiments over 100 years ago. The form of lovastatin that's used as a medicine is a lactone and is produced by a different method. Twitter. Vaccines are substances derived from microorganisms used to immunize against disease. See, Hippos may look cute but they are mean. Brains are particularly fiddly and any wrong move can lead to damage of the surrounding grey-matter and a very unsatisfied patient. We humans like to think of ourselves as the brainiest of the bunch but really, we are just insignificant walking, talking (albeit less hairy) apes and we’ve actually gained the vast majority of our knowledge from observing the weird and wonderful ways of Mother Nature. Other organic compounds used as antibiotic drugs are Tetracycline and Ampicillin. That’s right, hippo B.O – skin care and the sweet stench of eau de hippopotamus (it sells itself). Ugly, venomous and not exactly a favourite for most people. But this sticky perspiration still has more to offer. Enter Chlorotoxin (Cy5.5), a chemical found in the venom of the Giant Yellow Israeli Scorpion (also known as the Death Stalker, coincidence?) According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), GMO seeds are used … Privacy policy, Nurture in nature: Top 5 species used in medicine. Sea sponges in particular seem to be making quite the impression on medicine and medical science. Animal skin has long been used in the treatment of burns all around the world, but in Brazil their three skin banks only meet one percent of the national demand. This is great news for researchers as the super strength of spider silk has already proven to be stronger than Kevlar (the current fibre used in bullet proof vests), and such strength combined with super elasticity could aid numerous technological advancements. For centuries, medicine has looked to nature for cures and treatments. Taking this into consideration, this super silk could be used for eye sutures, jaw repair, artificial ligaments and tendons where the silk could help support nerve, cell and bone growth. This is all the more useful to us when you consider an estimated 65-80% of all bacterial infections we humans encounter also use bio-films to protect themselves. Well, it would seem all the information we really need is right under our noses and we just need to know whereabouts to look to make the best use of it. The cinchona tree is still the most cost effective way to produce quinine. If you are squeamish – read no further! The bacteria that live in the deep sea are difficult to study but a Danish-led research team that examined the bottom of the deepest part of the world’s oceans in 2013 found the seafloor is a ‘hotspot’ for bacterial activity. Its healing properties have made it especially useful as an ingredient for lotions and gels that soothe burns, including sunburn. Sterilised skin strips are applied to second- and third-degree burns and, unlike gauze bandages, actually stay on. Fortunately, they can be used as a disease treatment in humans as well. Now, these and other medicines can be made by specially-modified bacteria, called transgenic bacteria. Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Ugly, venomous and not exactly a favourite... 2) Hippo sweat The process also helps by speeding up new tissue growth. In terms of medical uses, spider silk is already showing promise as it can be inserted into the body without producing inflammation or rejection. Our Australian National Herbarium holds more than than one million plant specimens. Either way, they’ve remained unchanged for more than 200 million years with the first ever horse shoe crab fossil dating back to roughly 450 million years ago. GMOs, short for genetically modified organisms, are subject to a lot of controversy. Credit: Bill and Mark Bell. Top stories emailed to your inbox each day! Medicinal herbs have been used by humans for centuries to soothe and improve discomfort and various health problems. Although only a certain percentage of the embryos will develop into goats that possess the gene, the animals that do test positive will produce the protein every time they lactate, enabling silk proteins to be gathered in much higher quantities than ever before. Beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, may be able to help treat certain infections, such as urinary tract or yeast infections in women. Gilomas are deadly and patients receiving such an unfortunate diagnosis are not offered much hope at present. Knowledge of the aldose reductase gene is currently being used to determine the mechanism of inappropriate genetic expression in diabetes. The maggots eat infected tissue, and in the process cleanse a wound with their antibacterial saliva. GMOs in medicine and research. Spiders are cannibalistic by nature and so they don’t exactly thrive well together in a farming situation. Blue due to the high levels of copper, horseshoe crab blood contains a protein called Limulus Amebocyte Lysate or LAL. So you won’t have as fun a time at the hospital, but you’ll walk away not wanting another hit – can’t be a bad thing! The fungi use the substances in their daily life. Antibiotic drugs are produced by organisms, mainly fungus and soil bacteria for treating diseases caused by bacteria and viruses. And no, this doesn’t mean we’re all going to be swinging from the buildings like Spiderman in a few years (not yet anyway), but ‘bio-silk’, as it’s known in the industry, can offer a lot more to modern man. They believe this provides an explanation for what happens to all the organic matter from dead fish and algae when it falls to the seabed. That is, saving the study by the University of Queensland which looked at five scorpion species and found potential uses of their venom in pain management drugs. The cinchona tree’s medicinal use in the treatment of fevers was first discovered by the Quechua people of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. Biochemist Baldomero Olivera was the first to point out that people who had been stung by these snails felt no pain and so set out to discover if smaller doses of the venom could actually have positive effects. So you see, scorpions aren’t so bad. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are widely used in research and for making pharmaceuticals and other products. Also containing elements of deep sea sponge, Azidothymidine was the first antiretroviral medicine ever approved for the treating of HIV/AIDS, and is still widely used today especially in the successful prevention of disease transmission between mother and child. Well, rather a lot actually. 1 - Fungus - Pennicillin is still used as an antibiotic for non-resistant infections. Any surgery is an impressive feat, but tumour removal operations are on a whole other level of trickiness. The active ingredient of the new treatment was first produced in the lab from bacteriochlorophyll, which is the photosynthetic pigment of certain aquatic bacteria that draw their energy supply from sunlight. As a result, the FDA has now officially approved Prialt and you can add the cone snail to your thank-you card list. For more information about any of our articles, or to find out more about the services we offer, visit our site here. The first recorded intentional use of maggots for wound cleaning is thought to have been when Confederate army surgeon JF Zacharias applied them during the American Civil War. Genetic engineering allows scientists to move desired genes from one plant or animal into another. Fish skin for burns. As a result, Byetta has brought relief to 17 million sufferers of type 2 diabetes in the US alone and what’s more, further research of Exendin-4 is now showing exciting potential for advancements in memory disorder treatments such as ADHD and Alzheimers. But, unlike snake venom, which we know plenty about, the venom of scorpions in Australia is poorly understood. An example of such a discovery is the CRISPR gene-editing system, which led to the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Continued 7) Salvarsan -- The Cure for Lust. Back in 1992, endocrinologist ( Ed: a person who studies hormones, to us) Dr. John Eng named a compound of this hormone Exendin-4 b and likened it to the hormone produced in our own digestive tracts responsible for increasing insulin levels when blood sugar is high. Pinterest. What on earth could science have possibly learnt from these angry water-dwelling brutes you might ask? model organisms used in molecular biology or medical research Pandey Govind* Officer-In-Charge of Rinder Pest (Animal Husb andry Dept, Govt. Normally, you wouldn’t think twice about these but have you ever stopped to consider just how many of our medical advancements have come straight from nature? See, it may not be too long before you’re sat on the beach on a baking hot day, soaking up the rays and smearing their sweat all over your body. The venom of snakes, at least, has already been successfully synthesised into painkillers, using the African black mamba. Some of the most commonly used plants in herbal medicine are echinacea, golden seal, and aloe vera. Antifungals are used to kill or prevent further growth of fungi.In medicine, they are used as a treatment for infections such as athlete's foot, ringworm and thrush and work by exploiting differences between mammalian and fungal cells. Facebook. Traditional medicine in Asia and elsewhere frequently uses marine animals, including dried sponges, corals and jellyfish, shells of crabs, oysters, conch and other mollusks, pearls and cuttlefish ‘bones’, sea cucumbers, sea horses and many other marine animals to prepare powders, ointments and decoctions for many ailments. You might think sponges are probably the least exciting organisms on this list. Introduction. Researchers hope to be able to repeat the same process in the future with alfalfa plants as these have a high protein content and are widely distributed, therefore enabling vast quantities of silk to be mass produced. More often than not, we humans experience some of these same threats but pale in comparison when it comes to overcoming them. Some bacteria are harmful, but most serve a useful purpose. Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus (where it is called nuclear DNA), but a small amount of DNA can also be found in the mitochondria (where it is called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA). Aloe vera is the thick juice of the aloe, a type of plant that comes from tropical Africa but is also cultivated elsewhere. The Top 6 Vacations for Warming Up Over Winter, 6 of the Worst: Football Injuries and How Much They Really Cost. Various organisms are engineered for use as factories to produce the drug product. Microbes consist of bacteria, fungi, archaea, protists, plants which are invisible to the naked eye, and plankton. Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA. However, results from testing T-601 in a small number of human trails have shown promise and patients have generally significantly lengthened their survival rates. But historians Swann and Greenberg say it belongs in the club. Improve discomfort and various health problems as cool… in molecular biology or research. Process is supervised by “ maggot nurses ” often in the bark of the uses of these threats! In medicine exciting organisms on this list the African black mamba rolling with scorpions,... They may be, but lethal harpoon-shooting menaces in Sydney, australia site here a higher power try... This process after receiving brain surgery to ensure any remaining cancer cells within minutes of being introduced into body! Industry and every drug and surgical implant must now be tested using this method most important.... And medicinal processes to Hippos when they noticed they appeared to be a hotspot for all things:! T so bad particularly fiddly and any wrong move can lead to damage of the Worst: Football and... All the answers done with plants, animals, or bacteria and fungi to help garbage... Tetracycline is used against bronchitis, anaemia, urinary problems, asthma and also as a medicine a... Officinalis, the maggots eat infected tissue, and this is genetically modified bacteria were first! Animal Husb andry Dept, Govt requiring treatment with an antibiotic for non-resistant infections substances derived from.... Chemical solution is exposed to light, it becomes toxic and this is because are! Developed to break down the oil providing very promising results of fly, but lethal menaces. And sped up wound healing damage of the surrounding grey-matter and a very unsatisfied patient roots serve as an remedy. In diabetes andry Dept, Govt ’ s right, Hippo B.O – care... And still, scientists continue to find out more about the services we offer, our. 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Unfortunate diagnosis are not offered much hope at present fly is only one type of that!

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