7 Living organisms that aid modern medicine in the weirdest ways 1) Giant Yellow Israeli Scorpion The sheep blow fly is only one type of fly, but there are many more! Credit: Calibas, GNU Free documentation license. 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! 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. So you see, scorpions aren’t so bad. The clinical trials that have been conducted to date are providing very promising results. 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. 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. Green Bottle Fly, Lucilia sericata. Antibiotics are produced in nature by molds such asPenicillium and bacteria such as Streptomyces and Bacillus. Today, there are over 100 active ingredients derived from plants for use as drugs and medicines. 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. GM microbes, plants, and animals also revolutionized the production of complex pharmaceuticals by … 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. Twitter. If goats can do it, why not plants? This red gooey stuff understandably called for further investigation and so a research team in Japan (Ed: where else?!) 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. 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. They support many forms of life, both plant and animal, and they are used in industrial and medicinal processes. 6. Credit: Bill and Mark Bell. While we’re on the subject of marine life, let’s move on to cone snails. Milk thistle is also commonly used in natural remedies. Knowledge of the aldose reductase gene is currently being used to determine the mechanism of inappropriate genetic expression in diabetes. Enter Chlorotoxin (Cy5.5), a chemical found in the venom of the Giant Yellow Israeli Scorpion (also known as the Death Stalker, coincidence?) Brains are particularly fiddly and any wrong move can lead to damage of the surrounding grey-matter and a very unsatisfied patient. Scientists are also working with bacteria and fungi to help breakdown garbage. When the chemical solution is exposed to light, it becomes toxic and this characteristic has been harnessed as a treatment. Genes are usually named after the first mutation isolated within them (e.g., white… Horseshoe crabs have therefore revolutionised the biomedical industry and every drug and surgical implant must now be tested using this method. 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. Bark yieldsa Vitter principle, called phyllanthin. Medicine is a continuously growing field with new discoveries occurring almost everyday. 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. An example of such a discovery is the CRISPR gene-editing system, which led to the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. 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. Our Australian National Herbarium holds more than than one million plant specimens. 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. The process also helps by speeding up new tissue growth. The Australian National Fish Collection (ANFC) is a resource for many fields of science. To address the issue, a doctor in the seaside town of Fortaleza is trialling the use of fish skins to treat burn wounds. But somehow spider alfalfa just doesn’t sound quite as cool…. Scientists first started paying more attention to hippos when they noticed they appeared to be sweating blood. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are widely used in research and for making pharmaceuticals and other products. Let’s get this ball rolling with Scorpions. For example, one of the first mutations Morgan isolated is known as white; flies with this mutation have white eyes (instead of red)9. 1 - Fungus - Pennicillin is still used as an antibiotic for non-resistant infections. 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. which attaches itself to cancer cells within minutes of being introduced into the body. But this sticky perspiration still has more to offer. It is hoped that patients can undergo this process after receiving brain surgery to ensure any remaining cancer cells are completely destroyed. GMOs, short for genetically modified organisms, are subject to a lot of controversy. Vaccines are substances derived from microorganisms used to immunize against disease. What’s more, you can spend an entire day frolicking in a muddy pond and this stuff still won’t wear off – brilliant. 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. 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. 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. The cinchona tree’s medicinal use in the treatment of fevers was first discovered by the Quechua people of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. T-601, the synthetic version of the chemical found in the scorpion’s sting could help surgeons fight tumours as well as detect them. Enter the humble tilapia, a fish that’s widely farmed in Brazil and whose skin, until now, was considered trash. The cinchona tree is still the most cost effective way to produce quinine. There are several more plants used in herbal medicine, but one of the most popular is Camillia sineses, which is … Today, they're the best option for those who prefer a natural treatment for their ailments.. Now, these and other medicines can be made by specially-modified bacteria, called transgenic bacteria. Continued 7) Salvarsan -- The Cure for Lust. 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! You might think sponges are probably the least exciting organisms on this list. Ugly, venomous and not exactly a favourite for most people. LAL is now used worldwide as a standard screening test for bacterial contamination. He went on to learn that the molecules the snails make to produce their venom were very small and simple and therefore easy to reproduce to create a synthetic version of the venom. That’s right, hippo B.O – skin care and the sweet stench of eau de hippopotamus (it sells itself). Press enter to see results or esc to cancel. Since snails pretty much have the worst design for hunting prey, cone snails have evolved to shoot out tiny little harpoons loaded with venom which paralyze (and sometimes kill) their prey. Chances are, Salvarsan didn't make your list of most important drugs. model organisms used in molecular biology or medical research Pandey Govind* Officer-In-Charge of Rinder Pest (Animal Husb andry Dept, Govt. In terms of medical uses, spider silk is already showing promise as it can be inserted into the body without producing inflammation or rejection. They are currently used in the United States, Europe and at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia. 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. Spiders are cannibalistic by nature and so they don’t exactly thrive well together in a farming situation. Research organisms may also reveal novel biological processes that can become important technologies for use in research or medicine. By understanding our biodiversity, the Earth’s life support, we can discover the value of our native species in our everyday life. According to legend, the South American Indians knew to drink the waters from beneath the tree whose quinine made the waters bitter. 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