Two British genetic engineers have developed a blood substitute that could sustain the body for long periods on little oxygen. The inspiration for developing the artificial blood -- which could be useful in transfusions during heart and lung transplants -- came from the crocodile's ability to stay underwater up to an hour at a time.
Noburu Komiyama and Kiyoshi Nagai at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England, found that in crocodiles, the carbon dioxide released during breathing attaches to the haemoglobin, forcing it to release the oxygen into the tissues.
The scientists used the gene coding for this unusual characteristic of crocodile haemoglobin to develop the artificial blood, which is undergoing trials in the US.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.