JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Bioluminescence. A laboratory flask glows with bioluminescent light. Bioluminescence is the production of light by living organisms, including some bacteria and fungi, one-celled animals, crustaceans, and the more well-known fireflies and glow-worms. Self-luminous fish may have special "photogenic" organs which flash as a signal that is under nervous control. Flashing often serves in mate or prey attraction. In the "common piddock" mollusc, its bioluminescence is due to a substance named Pholasin. Pholasin is of medical interest in that it is activated by the human body's defensive white blood cells (immune system). Pholasin may be of help in the diagnosis of autoimmune diseases.
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