|Manu||Date: Wednesday, 12-May-2021, 3:32 PM | Message # 1|
|BY CAROLINE DELBERT|
MAR 30, 2021
Could future humans evolve to have venom glands? In new research, scientists close a long-open door by causally linking early salivary glands with what eventually became venom glands in many animals.
Because saliva is the common thread, that means anyone with salivary glands could eventually develop venom—from mice in the new experiment all the way up to humans.
“We found that overall venom gland gene expression was surprisingly well conserved when compared to salivary glands of other amniotes. We characterized the ‘metavenom network,’ a network of ∼3,000 nonsecreted housekeeping genes that are strongly coexpressed with the toxins, and are primarily involved in protein folding and modification.”
Basically, the saliva glands are serving up empty bowls, and venom glands are serving up bowls full of poison. The missing piece isn’t in genes or mechanism, but in the contents of what is being released from the glands: special proteins.
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