JAN 23, 2016 8:23 AM PST

10 Deadly Poisons That Could Save Your Life

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

In the wild, survival of the fittest for some plants and animals mean sporting lethal venoms and toxins to kill whatever bothers it. Nature's own toxins are exquisitely efficient at killing. Some of these toxic concoctions of proteins and peptides target the nervous system, causing death by paralysis. Some dissolve cells and tissues, causing death from the inside out. Some coagulate blood into the consistency of gelatin, turning the victim into a macabre human Jell-o mold.

But ironically enough, the chemical properties that make these natural toxins so deadly are also what make it so valuable as medical cures. As it turns out, some of the most active components of toxins affect the same enzymes and pathways in certain diseases. Deriving the key active ingredients from the toxins could yield huge therapeutic potentials. Aside from yielding the key chemical compound, toxins also lead scientists to better understand how certain diseases work, what pathways are affected, and what proteins may be curative.

So far, toxinologists are hard at work screening natural toxins for medicinal values. Of the possible 20 million toxins in nature, fewer than a 1,000 have been analyzed. And of that, only about a dozen have made it as a marketable drug. Watch the video to learn which poisons could be your next medicine.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Superhighways in Space Enable Super Fast Travel Between Planets
DEC 12, 2020
Superhighways in Space Enable Super Fast Travel Between Planets
Astronomers from Serbia have found that invisible structures created by gravitational interaction in our Solar System ge ...
MAY 15, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Find Liquid Water Inside Meteorite
MAY 15, 2021
Scientists Find Liquid Water Inside Meteorite
Scientists know that water is abundant in the solar system- existing in the rings of Saturn and on its moon, Enceladus. ...
MAY 30, 2021
Space & Astronomy
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
MAY 30, 2021
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
A detailed cross-section of another galaxy, known as YGC 10738, has cast previous ideas of how the Milky Way was formed ...
JUN 04, 2021
Plants & Animals
What Elephant Trunks Teach Science about Suction
JUN 04, 2021
What Elephant Trunks Teach Science about Suction
How an elephant picks up a tortilla chip could inspire next-generation suction technology.
JUN 05, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Washington State University Opens Cannabis Research Center
JUN 05, 2021
Washington State University Opens Cannabis Research Center
Washington State University (WSU) has announced the opening of a multi-disciplinary research center with nearly 100 scie ...
JUL 05, 2021
Plants & Animals
Why Are Some Fish Warm-Blooded? A Need for Speed
JUL 05, 2021
Why Are Some Fish Warm-Blooded? A Need for Speed
Great white sharks are warm-blooded, and new research helps explain why.
Loading Comments...