Blood ves­sel de-clog­ger

Down to Earth - - COVER STORY - IT IS

CROC­O­DILES HAVE evolved at a rel­a­tively slow rate—about a quar­ter of the rate of evo­lu­tion of birds. But de­spite this, they have been able to main­tain ge­netic di­ver­sity and sur­vive mil­lions of years. This has emerged from a study which com­pared the genome se­quences of croc­o­diles, birds and tur­tles. The find­ing could help us un­der­stand their dis­ease re­sis­tance, sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ties, adap­ta­tion to chang­ing en­vi­ron­ments, and the di­ver­sity of cap­tive and wild salt­wa­ter crocodile pop­u­la­tions. The find­ings also pro­vide clues to the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the com­mon an­ces­tors of the species. All ex­tant crocodil­ian species—the Aus­tralian salt­wa­ter crocodile, the Amer­i­can al­li­ga­tor and the In­dian ghar­ial—were stud­ied in the re­search. Science, De­cem­ber 12

known that ni­trite-rich food, such as beet­root, im­prove blood flow and are good for the heart. But how this hap­pens was not clear. A study shows that ni­trite works as a sig­nal to haemoglobin, found in red blood cells, to form ni­tric ox­ide. This re­duces platelet ac­ti­va­tion which causes blood clots. Re­searchers now aim to en­hance this abil­ity of haemoglobin to treat con­di­tions such as hy­per­ten­sion, sickle cell dis­ease and stroke. Jour­nal of Bi­o­log­i­cal Chem­istry, De­cem­ber 3

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