Need new bug spray/cancer treatment? Try scorpion venom.

So many things are expensive these days

scorpion

Image by flickr

If you need to control pests in your yard or home (and marital counseling doesn’t do the trick), you have to buy pesticide. That can be costly, although not as much as counseling. If your health begins to fail – let’s say you develop brain cancer – then you’ll need to find a way to deal with that. Aside from Dr. Frankenstein, no physicians I know of have perfected an effective brain transplant for humanoid creatures. Thus, radical treatments are required if you wish to take the off ramp before arriving at your deadly destination. All in all, you might need payday loans at some point.

Particularly if scorpion venom has set you back

It is among the most expensive liquid substances available, but science won’t let that deter progress. We know that scorpion venom can paralyze or even kill, although most American-variety scorpions are comparable to a bee sting (assume you aren’t allergic). But according to the Discovery Network, scientists are finding ways to use scorpion venom to create commercial pest control products, treat various cancers and even help with arthritis.

Don’t mess with the Zohan’s poison research

Discovery writes that Israeli scientists have cloned the genes that create the specific compounds found in scorpion venom. They’ve also figured out which parts of these compounds will best bind to the nervous systems of insects (because you want to kill them, right?) Expectations are that scorpion venom should eventually enable scientists to create pest-specific pesticides that won’t harm other creatures or the environment. They would be biodegradable, something current pesticides are not.

“A gift from nature”

That’s what Michael Gurevitz of Tel Aviv University calls scorpion venom. “Nature has developed compounds during millions of years that show complete selectivity to various groups of animals.” Evolution has done a lot of work for us; our job is to understand it. For instance, the pesticides have to be synthesized; venom proteins sprayed directly on crops can be digested by insects. It has to get into the bloodstream to be effective.

Hide the sodium channels, ma!

Gurevitz is studying how toxic scorpion venom interacts with sodium channels that are found on nervous and muscular cells. Scorpion venom, properly synthesized in bacteria, could bind there, paralyze your garden pest of choice and finally kill the creature. I’m expecting insect rights groups to mount a counteroffensive soon, as targeted insect cleansing could conceivably become a reality.

“As we know more details about how these toxins bind and affect the sodium channels, we would be able to engineer toxins” and develop chemical mimics that would be easier for industry to produce, said Gurevitz.

“A holocaust against insects”

Numerous scientists hint that we’ve been waging a losing battle against insects, who appeared to be slated for habitation on this world long after humanity as we know it now is gone. Now it appears that some long-term residency plans could change. As far as I’m concerned, I’d be happy to take out payday loans if it meant that my species would survive in its current evolving form. Just so long as we aren’t forced to breed with the praying mantis. I want to keep my head after mating.

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