2 - Insects - Maggots, or fly larve, are cool because they will eat dead flesh but not live flesh. It is hoped that patients can undergo this process after receiving brain surgery to ensure any remaining cancer cells are completely destroyed. Not so useless now eh? 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. They are currently used in the United States, Europe and at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia. In medicine, genetic engineering (GE) is used to make biopharmaceutical drugs. After 10 years of research and development, a synthetic protein derived from the lizards venom (Byetta) was approved by the FDA and is now effective in not only assisting those with type 2 diabetes maintain healthy glucose levels but also enabling patients to lose weight by slowing down the emptying of the stomach and decreasing appetite levels. Our Australian National Herbarium holds more than than one million plant specimens. 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. Remember, the scorpion has been around a heck of a lot longer than us and as a result, its venom has been primed by evolution to work as efficiently as possible. It is estimated their use saves Britain’s National Health Service $2.5 billion per year. 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. 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. Knowledge of the aldose reductase gene is currently being used to determine the mechanism of inappropriate genetic expression in diabetes. Research has proven the drug to be 1000 times more powerful than morphine with the added benefits of not offering the addictive and tolerance-building side effects that accompany traditional opiates. Let’s get this ball rolling with Scorpions. Researchers have discovered sponges contain complex chemical compounds which they employ as antibiotics to fight off harmful bacteria. Study of the fish skin revealed it is high in collagen and has a similar moisture content to human skin. Brains are particularly fiddly and any wrong move can lead to damage of the surrounding grey-matter and a very unsatisfied patient. This plant has a reputed position in Ayurveda and Unani systems of medicine. These days the process is supervised by “maggot nurses” often in the comfort of the patients’ homes. Enter Chlorotoxin (Cy5.5), a chemical found in the venom of the Giant Yellow Israeli Scorpion (also known as the Death Stalker, coincidence?) 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. One convention in Drosophila, which Morgan initiated, is naming mutations to reflect the nature of their phenotype (the observable effects of the mutation). Although there's an extensive list of herbs with healing properties, most are well known and we often use them on a daily basis to cook or boost our health. 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. 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. Antibiotic drugs are produced by organisms, mainly fungus and soil bacteria for treating diseases caused by bacteria and viruses. Horseshoe crabs have therefore revolutionised the biomedical industry and every drug and surgical implant must now be tested using this method.

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