[ Press release] Gator blood contains naturally strong germ fighters, new GMU research finds
From the 11 February 2015 article at George Mason University
Sophisticated germ fighters found in alligator blood may help future soldiers in the field fend off infection, according to new research by George Mason University.
The study, published Feb. 11 in the scientific journal PLOS One, is the result of a fundamental research projectsupported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to find bacterial infection-defeating compounds in the blood of the crocodilian family of reptiles, which includes American alligators.
Mason professor Barney Bishop with Fluffy, an American alligator. Photo courtesy of St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.
The project is about to start its fourth year and has received $6 million in funding to date from DTRA. If fully funded over five years, the project will be worth $7.57 million.
Alligators live in bacteria-filled environments and dine on carrion. Yet this ancient reptile rarely falls ill.
“If you look at nature, sometimes we can find pre-selected molecules to study,” says study co-author Monique van Hoek. “I was surprised to find peptides that were as effective as they are in fighting bacteria. I was really impressed.”
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