Five million people worldwide annually receive the bite of a poisonous snake, of which approximately 100,000 die.
An international team of researchers sequenced the genome of the Indian Cobra, with the aim of achieving effective and cheapest antidotes against its deadly bite.
The research team, led by Somasekaram Seshagiri Research Fund SciGenome in Bangalore (India), managed to collect high-quality genome sequence of the Indian Cobra, one of the most poisonous snakes on the planet.
Every year about five million people around the world suffer from the bites of poisonous snakes, of which approximately 400,000 people lose limbs and nearly 100,000 die .
In this study, published in the scientific journal “Nature Genetics”, Seshagiri and his colleagues used a variety of technologies long and short read sequencing for building high-quality genome of the Indian Cobra, species of medical relevant snake because of its highly toxic nature. They also used chromosomal contact data and optical mapping.
In their research they collected tissue from 14 different cobras, which they used to predict 31 447 248 23 transcripts and the genes encoding the protein. They found 19 genes that were associated with the production of toxins in the poisonous gland and tested the proteins produced from these genes. At the same time they compared their results with existing data from rattlesnakes Prairie, determined that 15 of the genes they found the toxin was only for the Indian Cobra.
Currently, the method of achieving the antidote is the introduction of a small amount of venom into a large animal like a horse, and extracting the resulting antibodies that are generated by the animal. The problem with this approach is that it is costly and not always effective, which can be solved with the opening Seshagiri and his team.
According to researchers, this discovery could enable further research on the development of synthetic recombinant venom for use in creating the antidote.
“This high quality genome allowed us to study different aspects of the biology of snake venom such as a venomous genomic organization, genetic variation, evolution and a key expression of toxic genes”, say the researchers, adding that the genome of the Indian Cobra has been a rich source for the development of more reliable antidotes in the future.
To date, published only a few genomes of snakes. However, as only the genomes of snakes higher quality will be completed, synthetic antibodies, directed against the key of poisons identified in these studies can be combined to work effective antivenoms of a wide spectrum.