Cone shell research

Cone shell research

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This image is part of the feature Most Toxic Animals
This image is part of the feature Medicine From The Sea

Credit: VOLKER STEGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cone shell research. Cone shell (Conus sp.) being held in a researcher's gloved hand. The deadly venom of the cone shell, a type of marine snail, contains proteins (conotoxins) that include the amino acid Gla (gamma-carboxyglutamic acid) in their structures. This is involved in the blood clotting process in humans. It is hoped that the study of the biochemistry of the cone shells can provide more information on Gla's role in the snail venom and the blood clotting process. This could lead to the development of new drugs to treat clotting disorders such as haemophilia. Photographed at the Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory, Massachusetts, USA, in 2002.

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