Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sea-Porcupine?

Cute purple little Bomb-shell!

Nope, wrong! It's not a porcupine, but it's a sea urchin. So what on earth is sea urchin? To make things sound simpler...well they are dwellers in the bottom of the sea. I have seen it and had close encounter with it (seriously). But thank goodness it never kiss me. Okay, now let's poke into the real deal: Sea urchins reveal mysteries of cancer!

Researchers are using these to study and understand diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and muscular dystrophy. Although they are invertebrates, the creatures share a common ancestor with humans (What? Now you mean I'm a sea urchin too?) and have more than 7000 of the same genes.

In fact there are several genes in these small, spiky and spineless bomb involving Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and many other cancer-related genes. And fertility may be another problem the sea urchin helps to solve. No wonder. Each of this spiny bombs can produce 20 million eggs (shame on us).

Another fascinating fact is sea urchins don't have eyes, ears or a nose, but they have the genes humans have for vision, hearing and smelling (wow!). So practically they see no evil, hear no devil and sniff no...what? But I'm sure they like to munch on something right? Don't believe it? You can ask Oscar. He loves biscuits (yummy)!



Watch Oscar munch on cookie!

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