Gator In A Pill

img_2609.jpgWalk into any souvenir shop here in New Orleans, and you’re likely to find Alligator in a Can. Researchers at local universities hope that one day you can then head over to the local pharmacy to pick up Alligator in a Pill. Gators, being the aggressive reptiles that they are, tend to get an awful lot of gashes out in the swamp. Yet their adaptive immune system allows them to quickly produce proteins to combat nasty infections they may pick up. Mark Merchant, a biochemist at McNeese State University, and Kermit Murray and Lancia Darville, from Louisiana State University, are trying to sift through the proteins found in alligator blood to see if any of them could make useful antibiotics. Merchant is something like the Steve Irwin of the sciences; he’s the one responsible for plunging a syringe into the alligators’ necks to extract a blood sample. Most of the samples come from gators on his farm in Lake Charles, La., but his colleagues say he’s been known to hop on a boat in the middle of the night to wrestle a gator in the wild.

Author: Lisa Jarvis

Share This Post On