The Snail Which Did For The Taliban


The Cone Snail Genome Project for Health
undoubtedly represents another major advance in the cause of medical science. The potential for non-addictive pain relief, and the possible marginalisation of opiates must be a good thing, if only to make the job of winning the Afghan War cheaper by undermining the demand for opiates.
This humble species (Conus consors) is generally to be found in warm shallow seas, the marine habitat most at risk from rising sea temperatures and other human intervention, which isn’t quite so good for it.
Luckily, we have already discovered this useful little beast and can now synthesise its secret ingredient and so don’t have to worry about preserving its species for future harvesting or research. Its little act of kindness is done. But its new status re-emphasises the fact that we simply do not know what miracles we are destroying before we even know they exist.
Most scientists accept that there are still millions of species unkown to man. So with every acre of habitat and every species carelessly destroyed , the chances increase that their chemical gifts to us will also be lost forever. The future beneficiaries of Conus consors may not worry, but the future sufferers of aids and cancer who may go uncured because of our insane system of planet management may not be so lucky.

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