Algae live inside the cells of salamanders, in the most intimate symbiotic relationship ever seen involving a vertebrate species. The algae live in developing salamander embyros and might help them grow, researchers say.
The spotted salamander lays its eggs in ponds, where a species of green algae called Oophila amblystomatis, an “egg-loving” unicellular alga, infiltrates the egg capsules.
Algae has helped create the atmosphere, played a role in populating the oceans and even produced biofuels so that we might pollute the atmosphere and the oceans a tiny bit less. Now, a team of researchers is coaxing therapeutic pharmaceuticals out of the hardy little organisms, in a process that could eventually produce biologic drugs that are a few orders of magnitude cheaper than existing drugs.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.