Scientists compete to sequence animal genomes
The Straits Times reported that a team led by Prof R Manjunatha KINI from the Department of Biological Sciences has made a pitch to sequence the entire genome of the temple pitviper in the 2017 Plant and Animal SMRT Grant Programme competition organised by biotechnology firm, Pacific Biosciences. The temple pitviper is the only snake species known to produce a toxin called waglerin, a neuromuscular inhibitor which scientists believe could be developed into a muscle relaxant drug. By sequencing the genome of the temple pitviper, a sexually dimorphic snake found in nature reserves and parks of Singapore, the scientists will have a complete set of information on the snake’s genes, which will help them to understand the origins of proteins expressed in the snake’s venom gland.
Source : The Straits Times (Friday, 31 March 2017)