Heroin-like Venom From This Fanged Fish Could Bring New Painkillers

Fang blennies are timid and colorful fish that are popular with aquarium enthusiasts, but many of them have a venomous bite. Even skilled researchers have had their hands chomped on by venomous fang blennies, resulting in inflammation and an odd feeling that goes away after a short while.

Avoiding such problems, a scientific team recently studied fang blennies, focusing on the fish’s venom. They determined that the venom is full of opioid compounds known as peptides that act like heroin or morphine, inhibiting pain rather than causing it.

“These opioid peptides are a rich source of novel leads for new painkillers,” project co-leader Bryan Fry of the University of Queensland told Seeker. “This discovery is an excellent example as to why we must urgently protect all of nature. It is impossible to predict where the next wonder drug will come from.”

Venomous fang blennies are only about two inches long, but they have two large grooved canine teeth that jut out of their lower jaw. These are their secret weapons, Fry said, since these fangs are linked to venom glands.

More on the blennies HERE

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