—Chemical cocktail allows cobra to spit pain “Scientists find that 3 types of snakes evolved the same chemical defense independently” Most venomous snakes are biters: their fangs inject venom to kill their prey. But three types of snakes—African spitting cobras, Indian spitting cobras, and ringhals—react to threats from humans by spitting venom toward the eyes, causing pain, inflammation, and even blindness. Now researchers understand the molecular basis of spitting snakes’ venom cocktail. The venom carries high levels of proteins that enhance the pain sensation in mouse nerve cells triggered by the venom (Science 2021, DOI: 10.1126/science.abb9303). Nicholas Casewell, a snake venom expert at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and researchers from eight countries found that the three types of snakes evolved the same defensive technique independently, a process called convergent evolution.
by Laura Howes |
February 06, 2021