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Biochemistry

Chemistry in Pictures: A sstriking ssuccessss

by Alexandra Taylor
February 7, 2020

20200207lnp20-organoids.jpg
Credit: Ravian van Ineveld

Scientists have figured out how to grow miniature venom glands of the Cape coral snake in a dish. Students in Hans Clevers’s lab at the Hubrecht Institute obtained embryos of the snake species and chopped up their venom glands. They then bathed them in the same chemicals used to grow miniature mammalian organoids and incubated them at 28–32 °C. The resulting millimeter-wide mini-organs produced venom that is at least as concentrated as naturally produced venom and could be used to produce snake venom in bulk. Clevers thinks this new capability might make it easier to design antibodies against venom proteins. His lab is working with a collaborator to start building a venom-molecule biobank.

To read more about this work, check out the story by Alla Katsnelson.

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