In a groundbreaking discovery, researchers from the University of Queensland has successfully bred lethal cone snails in a laboratory aquarium, marking a significant milestone. This achievement holds enormous potential for unlocking the power of their complex venom and gaining a deeper understanding of it. Such knowledge could pave the way for a wide range of human therapeutics.
The findings have been published in the esteemed journal Nature Communications.
Exploring the Potential of Cone Snail Venoms
Cone snail venoms have attracted significant scientific interest due to their diverse range of potential applications. Researchers have been able to study the biological transformations that take place throughout various stages of cone snails’ lives, including the complex composition of their venom.
With approximately 1,000 distinct species, each with its unique venom formula, cone snails have captured the attention of scientists. Their venoms, composed of multiple compounds, hold immense potential for various scientific investigations and applications.
Researchers are investigating venoms as potential therapeutics.
In their recent investigations, researchers have discovered crucial differences in the venoms across the lifecycle of these tiny marine species.
“Juvenile cone snails use a different cocktail of venoms than adult snails to kill their prey,” said Richard Lewis professor at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, UQ. “This is a rich and unexplored group of molecules that we can now examine as potential leads for drugs.”
Professor Lewis provided further insight into their success with venom molecules, particularly in the development of pain medications. However, he stressed the need for additional exploration of the pharmacology of these molecules to ascertain their potential therapeutic uses across various disease categories.