Researchers are studying zebrafish to determine which genes are involved in regeneration. If these genes can be found and expressed in humans, a damaged heart could essentially heal itself, speeding recovery from heart attacks and perhaps preventing heart failure.
MS researchers genetically screen zebrafish to uncover neuron receptors and have successfully found a receptor that can instruct certain cells to remake myelin. Since zebrafish are about 70% similar to humans in their protein-coding genes, scientists look for genes in the zebrafish genome that control the rebuilding of the myelin sheath and are optimistic about finding a cure to MS.
In the early 90s, an endocrinologist and research scientist named John Eng discovered a hormone in the Gila monster’s saliva similar to one in the human digestive tract that keeps blood sugar levels from spiking or dropping too low. He named the hormone exendin-4 and began exploring its tremendous potential as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Exendin-4 is improving the lives of people with type 2 diabetes and has great potential for treating devastating neurological disorders.
Many elderly people suffer from osteoporosis, the significant bone loss that can increase the risk of fracture. This disease affects more than 10 million Americans and is the underlying cause behind 1.5 million fractures every year. Rather than develop osteoporosis, black bears' bodies have made evolutionary adjustments to prevent bone loss during disuse and a team of research scientists have been investigating the secret behind the integrity of bears' bones.