Scientists from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University and the Australian National University examined the genes «cooperants» associated with the production of venom but not directly responsible in the Taiwanese habu snake (Trimeresurus mucrosquamatus), finding more than 3000
These venom-associated genes perform household chores, such as protecting cells from stress through the production of protein Researchers have found that, away from the snakes, spiders, bats and other assorted poisonous creatures, dogs, chimpanzees and even humans have their own versions of this same genetic defensive architecture.
“Many scientists intuitively believed this to be true, but this is the first real solid evidence for the theory that venom glands evolved from early salivary glands”, said study author Agneesh Barua, adding: “It definitely gives a toxic person a whole new meaning.”
At one point, snakes have moved all-in in the poisonous arms race, while other creatures, like shrews, have opted for a simpler and less potent venom. Rather, humans have developed different self-preservation strategies
«Essentially, we have all the basics in place», said Barua, referring specifically to kallikreins, proteins that digest other proteins that are secreted in human saliva and play a key role in many venoms found throughout the animal kingdom.
Kallikreins are very stable and are therefore not at the mercy of mutation in functionality, but instead, they resist and develop horrible new abilities, like making the venom more painful. Kallikreins can also cause a sudden and often fatal drop in blood pressure.
Research is unlikely to lead to the development of poisonous superpowers in humans anytime soon, but it could give insight into medical research, especially cancer research, through a better understanding of tissue development in the human body, both in the past and at the onset of the disease, as well as the associated and subsequent problematic secretions of these tissues
Serpent, poisonous snake, saliva, human
News – FR – Humans have genetic blueprints to produce venom, according to a study
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