Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Archive for January 2018

Centipede Analgesics

In the face of the current opioid crisis, scientists are searching for new and safer painkillers (analgesics). Venomous animals may be useful in the search as their venom can contain peptides with analgesic properties. In fact, researchers recently discovered and characterized an analgesic peptide, dubbed SsmTX-I, that was isolated from the venomous centipede, Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans. This peptide was shown to block a type of potassium channel (Kv2.1) in the body that is involved in sensing […]

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How Ossabaw Island swine are helping us understand obesity and diabetes

         Ossabaw Island off the coast of Georgia (United States) is home to feral swine brought over by early Spanish explorers. In relative isolation on the island, with the exception of the introduction of a Hampshire pig, the Ossabaw pigs have become genetically distinct from those living on the mainland. Ossabaw pigs are prone to obesity and are the only miniature pigs known to develop type 2 […]

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Importance of diet to the physiology of farm-raised fish

Image of a fish farm by Vera Kratochvil [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Fish farming, i.e. aquaculture, has increased about 6.2% between the years 2000-2012, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Fish farms are highly dependent on fish meal as well as fish oil as nutrients for the growing fish. Although rates of farming have increased, the supply of fish meal and oil are predicted […]

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