Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Camel-bodies?

One of the side benefits of the before bed pumping I had to institute to deal with my recent supply issues is that I have actually had time to read some of the issues of Science that routinely pile up around my house. One of the back issues had a feature on camels. Sadly, they are dying at an alarming rate, and scientists don't yet know why. This was an interesting story, but what really caught my eye was a sidebar on camel antibodies. Apparently, they are less likely to cause an adverse reaction than the usual horse antibodies used in antivenoms, possibly due to their unusual structure (they lack light chains). The camel anitbodies are also more heat resistant, so are being tested for biodefense purposes such as biosensors designed to function in hot environments.

I love science stories like this. Someone discovers some random odd fact and publishes it. Someone else notices it and thinks "hey, I wonder if that would solve this problem I've been working on?" and then before you know it we have some great new thing. That is how basic research and applied research are supposed to work!

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