The box jellyfish is one of the most venomous animals out there and it can be found in the tropical waters. It has a trail of 3 meters long, and its tentacles are always ready to offer venom, which is painful and sometimes fatal.
There are numerous species of box jellyfish, and jellyfish Chironex fleckeri is the most dangerous one. Its sting can cause a heart attack and scientists cannot actually understand how the venom from this creature works.
A team of researchers has dissected this species of jellyfish by using a gene-editing tool, that’s also known as CRISPR, and they found a way to actually block the venom.
CRISPR Was Used to Create the Antidote for the Most Venomous Animal
The research was published in Nature Communications on the 30th of April. They tested box jellyfish venom in the human cells that were grown in the lab. By using the CRISPR, that can make exact DNA edits, the team was able to create human cells with some of the genes turned off. If they applied the venom to those cells, they could see which of the cells lived and which of them died. This way, they could see which of the genes were important to keep the cells alive.
Basically, they grow up millions of human cells, then they use the CRISPR in order to put out every gene from the human genome. This experiment is very complicated. They are looking at every piece of the genome and every version of it.
The scientists were able to find which genes cause the venom to be deadly, and how the venom is able to destroy the cells. There are four genes from a cholesterol regulation that is important to this entire process. They also have drugs for them, so they decided to see if they would work. They worked and they blocked the venom 15 minutes after the toxins entered the body.
Lena Pierce is a reporter for Great Lakes Ledger. After graduating from Ryerson In Toronto, Lena got an internship at CBC radio in Calgary. Lena was also a beat reporter for the Calgary Flames. Lena mostly cover sports and community events. Contact Lena here.