Navigation Links
Gifts from the sea

It's annual migration time on Cape Cod again, the time of year when Woods Hole squid arrive by the tens of thousands. It's a sign of spring to the fishermen who make a living in this important New England fishery. But here at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), it triggers an influx of hundreds of scientists and students from around the world, who return here faithfully every summer to study the squid and other marine organisms.

Sea creatures, it turns out, have been at the center of numerous medical research breakthroughs, and the MBL has been a center for this kind of work for over a century. The laboratory's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean; its expertise in collecting and maintaining marine creatures for study; and its casual, collaborative environment are key reasons scientists return each year.

During a typical MBL summer, the year-round population swells from 275 to over a thousand. Scientists from more than 133 universities and institutions in more than a dozen countries make the MBL their summer research headquarters each year.

U.S. and foreign students seeking intense, specialized science courses taught by top researchers, flock here, too--to participate in advanced-level offerings in numerous subjects, including cell physiology, neurobiology, and embryology.

Why study marine creatures? In short, they are simple versions of more complex organisms. By studying life processes in marine models, MBL scientists and students learn how the same events occur in the human body . . . and how they go awry when disease strikes.

Over the years, marine models have been instrumental in the MBL's advancement of the world's understanding of cancer, neurological disorders, vision, immunology, and even in vitro fertilization.

Here are some of the locally available organisms MBL researchers study and why:

Long-finned, or Woods Hole, squid (Loligo pealeii): This squid's large nerve cell fiber, called a giant axon, has h elped neuroscientists understand basic nervous system functions. MBL scientists studying squid have learned how electrical signals are transmitted from cell to cell, how nutrients and other important particles are transferred from cell to cell, and how certain cells maintain the body's pH level. Basic research on the squid has led researchers and clinicians to a better understanding of such debilitating human diseases as heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and kidney disease.

Horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus): The horseshoe crab's compound eye and the (easily accessible) optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain are both relatively large, making this organism a great model for the study of vision.

MBL scientists have also made significant research breakthroughs related to the horseshoe crab's blood. The crab's amebocyte cells clot in response to bacteria, enabling the development of tools used to test humans, drugs, and sterile environments for toxins.

Skate (Raja erinacea): Human retinas have two kinds of light-sensing cells: rods and cones. Skate retinas have only rods--yet they can still sense light. MBL scientists have studied skate retinas to learn how eyes adapt to light changes, and to understand diseases that can cause blindness.

Green sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis): The female sea urchin can produce as many as a half million eggs during spawning season, and fertilization and embryonic development are external and rapid. Such factors make this research organism ideal for the study of reproduction and development. Sea urchin research, much of which was carried out at the MBL, has led to advanced reproductive technologies including test-tube fertilization.

Oyster toadfish (Opsanus tau): The broad, flat head of the toadfish contains a unique set of nerve wiring. The nerves leading to and from the toadfish brain are less tangled than those in humans and other creatures that must cram their nerves through relatively small openings in the skull.

The human vestibular (balance) system relies on fluid-filled ear canals that tell us which end is up. The toadfish vestibular system is similar enough to the human version to make comparisons meaningful but with an easier to explore nerve layout. MBL researchers have used the toadfish as a model for research into neurotransmission; certain hearing and balance disorders, including Meniere's disease; and motion sickness and dizziness.

Surf clam (Spisula solidissima): Surf clam eggs are popular among scientists studying cell division and the proteins associated with it. Female clams are fertile from May to July, and millions of eggs can be harvested from a single female. By inducing the clam eggs to undergo cell division at the same time, scientists can study millions of cells in the same stage of division. Clam eggs are also transparent, providing a perfect window on biology in action. MBL scientists studying surf clams have made discoveries that may be critical to understanding diseases such as cancer; progeria, a disease that causes children to age unusually quickly; and muscular dystrophy.

For a list of MBL researchers and the organisms they use, or for further information on summer research and education at the MBL, please contact Gina Hebert at 508-289-7725.


'"/>

Source:Marine Biological Laboratory


Related biology news :

1. Novel Asthma Study Shows Multiple Genetic Input Required; Single-gene Solution Shot Down
2. Emory Study Tests Bone Marrow Stem Cells to Improve Circulation in Legs
3. UCLA Study Shows One-Third of Drug Ads in Medical Journals Do Not Contain References Supporting Medical Claims
4. Study Demonstrates Gene Expression Microarrays are Comparable and Reproducible
5. Study Links Ebola Outbreaks To Animal Carcasses
6. Breakthrough Microarray-based Technology for the Study of Cancer
7. NYU Study Reveals How Brains Immune System Fights Viral Encephalitis
8. Study finds more than one-third of human genome regulated by RNA
9. Leukemia Drug Breakthrough Study In New England Journal Of Medicine
10. Study identifies predictors of HIV drug resistance in patients beginning triple therapy
11. New Study from Affymetrix Laboratories Points to Changing View of How Genome Works
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:5/3/2016)...  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision biometric identification ... Identification System (ABIS) , a complete system for ... can process multiple complex biometric transactions with high ... face or iris biometrics. It leverages the core ... MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been used in ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... April 20, 2016 The new ... a compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door ... reader or the door interface with integration authorization management ... control systems. The minimal dimensions of the access control ... the building installations offer considerable freedom of design with ...
(Date:3/31/2016)...   LegacyXChange, Inc. ... LegacyXChange is excited to release its first ... be launched online site for trading 100% guaranteed authentic ... also provide potential shareholders a sense of the value ... industry that is notorious for fraud. The video is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and fluorometers use the ... models are higher end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension of 20mm. ... the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed several Agilent flow ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or ... of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for ... as WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, ... medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), ... new ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced ... (MoMA) in New York City . ... participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater ... Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced ... of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The trials ... dose studies designed to assess the safety, tolerability, ... in healthy adult volunteers. Forty subjects ... single dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) or ...
Breaking Biology Technology: