Dom Post: Bright idea for medical breakthroughs

Kiran Chug writes in the Dominion Post about the multiple uses New Zealand’s glow-worms could be put to: from helping to monitor blood sugar to medical imaging.

Research is being carried out by University of Otago’s Miriam Sharpe into the proteins responsible for the worms/ ability to glow – it is hoped that these proteins might form a better alternative than those used currently.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Although some species of fireflies were already used to provide lights for scientific testing, their light was intermittent and weaker than that given out by glow-worms.

“Glow-worms adjusted the brightness of their glow according to the surroundings and also appeared to shine more brightly when they were hungry. Dr Sharpe said it could be useful for researchers if they discovered how to control that process.

“Light-emitting proteins had the potential to be used in several research areas, Dr Sharpe said. In New Zealand, light-generating proteins have been used in research into cancer drug development, gene therapy, apple colour and animal muscle growth.”