Researchers from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific an Industrial Research Organisation have found an active gene in the legs of fleas, which produces resilin. Resilin in flea is found to help the flea to jump and leap at incredible heights and it also helps the flies to beat their wings at an incredible speed of 200 times/second.
Scientists have taken the genes responsible for resilin from the flea and cultured them in the bacteria E.coli and found that it could produce super strong rubbery polymer. They found that this resilin can be stretched to more than three times their original length without causing any damage or break in the resilin.
The artificial resilin is found to have the similar properties to the natural one and can be used in therapeutics in the field of medicine. One of the most important uses of resilin would be in the field of cardiovascular diseases. It can be very useful tool in the replacement of damaged arteries; the resilin has characters of elasticity and can be used to replace the elastic material in the walls of damaged arteries.
Aneurysmal disease is a cardiovascular disease which can lead to heart attacks occurs when the artery dilates and becomes weak leading to rupture of main artery causing arotic aneurysm.
Professor Roger Greenhalgh, a vascular surgeon at Imperial College London, said restoring elasticity to arteries could potentially combat two forms of cardiovascular disease and expressed that though the research is in infant stage, but exploring the elasticity property from flea can benefit humans.
Professor Greenhalgh said drug therapies, such as using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin, had shown promise in stalling the loss of elasticity in the artery but a technique which could actively restore elasticity to stiffening blood vessels would be a major advance".
However, Professor Julian Vincent, an expert in biomimetics - the study of the application of good designs from nature - said human elastin had been successfully recreated in the lab and he expressed that why this expression hasn't so far been used to repair damaged arteries."
Source: BBC News