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Insecticides made by anemones?

By Shane Graber - Posted Dec 04, 2012 11:00 AM
The oceans are a hotbed for new drug discoveries and certain anemones may contribute to new chemicals targeted as insecticides.
Insecticides made by anemones?

The the aggregating anemone, Anthopleura elegantissima, studied in this paper.

In past blog posts, we have reported on new drug discoveries from the ocean ranging in treatments for type II diabetes to stroke recovery.  Now sea anemone venom, in this case the aggregating anemone, Anthopleura elegantissima, may contain chemicals suitable for creation of new and improved insecticides.

Published this month in the Journal of Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), researchers Jan Tytgat and others studied the aggregated anemone, A. elegantissima, and found it has some unique toxins in its venom.  The type of toxins isolated make them ideally suited for developing new classes of insecticides that are environmentally friendly and avoid resistance in the insects they target.

"Because these toxins are aimed at important ion channels present not only in insect cells, they form the leading edge of our new biotechnology. Discovery of this useful marine toxin should provide additional incentive to preserve the fragile coral reefs where anemones thrive," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "But, given current attitudes, I suspect there's a better chance of a sea anemone killing a stink bug than for us to reverse our inroads on ocean life."

(via EurekAlert)

Author: Shane Graber
Location: Indiana

Shane has kept saltwater tanks for the last 12 years, is a research scientist, lives in northern Indiana, and is a proud Advanced Aquarist staffer.


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