It might sound surprising, but major breakthroughs in human health have come via research into jellyfish.
FRENCH PHYSIOLOGIST Charles Richet won the Nobel prize in medicine in 1913 after discovering the condition now known as anaphylaxis. The breakthrough came while he was studying how dogs responded to stings by the Portuguese man o’ war, a close relative of the bluebottle. The 2008 Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to a team of researchers “for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein” from the crystal jellyfish Aequorea victoria. This protein has since become one of the most important tools in modern bioscience – critical, for example, in work on a range of diseases from Alzheimer’s and diabetes to cancer.