Mapping dolphin proteins may benefit human health

  • Mapping all the proteins found in the dolphin genome could pave the way for finding a new way to treat some common diseases that affect humans, say researchers.
  • “Dolphins and humans are very, very similar creatures.
  • “As mammals, we share a number of proteins and our bodies function in many similar ways, even though we are terrestrial and dolphins live in the water all their lives.
  • A genome is the complete set of genetic material present in an organism. Although a detailed map of the bottlenose dolphin ( Tursiops truncatus ) genome was first compiled in 2008, recent technological breakthroughs enabled the creation of a new, more exhaustive map of all of the proteins produced by the dolphins’ DNA.

Findings:

  • Studies have recently revealed a protein, known as vanin-1, may help the marine mammals protect their kidneys. Humans produce vanin-1, but in much smaller amounts.
  • Researchers would like to gather more information on whether or not elevating levels of vanin-1 may offer protection to kidneys.
  • “There’s this gap in the knowledge about genes and the proteins they make. We are missing a huge piece of the puzzle in how these animals do what they do.
  • Vanin-1 is just one example of how genomic information about this mammalian cousin might prove useful. There may be hundreds of other similar applications.

Source: The Hindu

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