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Snakes are limbless predators, and many species use venom to help overpower relatively large, agile prey. Snake venoms are complex protein mixtures encoded by several multilocus gene families that function synergistically to cause incapacitation. To examine venom evolution, we sequenced and interrogated the genome of a venomous snake, the king cobra(More)
Venoms have evolved on numerous occasions throughout the animal kingdom. These 'biochemical weapon systems' typically function to facilitate, or protect the producing animal from, predation. Most venomous animals remain unstudied despite venoms providing model systems for investigating predator-prey interactions, molecular evolution, functional convergence,(More)
BACKGROUND Venom variation occurs at all taxonomical levels and can impact significantly upon the clinical manifestations and efficacy of antivenom therapy following snakebite. Variation in snake venom composition is thought to be subject to strong natural selection as a result of adaptation towards specific diets. Members of the medically important genus(More)
C57BL/6 and Balb/c mice were immunized with ultraviolet-irradiated cercariae of Egyptian strains of Schistosoma mansoni and S. haematobium, challenged with nonirradiated cercariae of the homologous or heterologous species, and assayed for protection against challenge infection by comparing the adult worm burdens of immunized and non-immunized mice.(More)
Variation in venom composition is a ubiquitous phenomenon in snakes and occurs both interspecifically and intraspecifically. Venom variation can have severe outcomes for snakebite victims by rendering the specific antibodies found in antivenoms ineffective against heterologous toxins found in different venoms. The rapid evolutionary expansion of different(More)
Gene duplication is a key mechanism for the adaptive evolution and neofunctionalization of gene families. Large multigene families often exhibit complex evolutionary histories as a result of frequent gene duplication acting in concordance with positive selection pressures. Alterations in the domain structure of genes, causing changes in the molecular(More)
Clinicians have for a long time witnessed the tragedy of injury, disability, and death from snake bite that is a daily occurrence in many parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. To many people living in these regions, including some of the world’s poorest communities, snake bite is an ever present occupational risk and environmental hazard, an additional(More)
Within many research areas, such as transcriptomics, the millions of short DNA fragments (reads) produced by current sequencing platforms need to be assembled into transcript sequences before they can be utilized. Despite recent advances in assembly software, creating such transcripts from read data harboring isoform variation remains challenging. This is(More)
Previous observations, which showed that treatment of mice with hydrocortisone acetate around the time of their infection with Schistosoma mansoni reduced the mature worm burden, have been confirmed. The number of eggs produced by the surviving worms during early patency was also significantly reduced. Cyclophosphamide and another steroid immunosuppressant,(More)
Bitis arietans is considered one of the most medically significant snakes in Africa, primarily due to a combination of its extensive geographical distribution, common occurrence and highly potent haemorrhagic and cytotoxic venom. Our investigation has revealed a remarkable degree of intra-species variation between pooled venom samples from different(More)