Wednesday, November 16, 2005

KOMODO DRAGONS - Study shows more to a lizard bite than a nasty nip

Reuters.com has an enlightening article on a new study which effectively doubles the number of potentially venomous reptile species in the world from 2,300 to 4,600! This could prove very important news to medicine developers, because many of today's drugs are derived from snake toxins.
Until now, pain and swelling from lizard bites assumed to be non-venomous were attributed to the bacteria that thrive on bits of meat left between their teeth from their scavenging diet.

However, the symptoms are actually from the venom, a finding which could have implications for medical research, said Dr. Bryan Fry of the University of Melbourne, lead author of the research published online by the science journal Nature.
[...]
"Milking the big monitors was quite simple, just gently squeezing the glands would result in 40-50 milligrams (dry weight) of liquid venom pooling at the base of the teeth," Fry said.

"This means a big Komodo dragon could have more than 200 milligrams ready to delivery at any time", he said.