Scientists have found the code for a powerful antibiotic within the giant panda genome, according to a story in the Telegraph. Pandas’ immune systems naturally produce the small anti-bacterial protein, but their critically low numbers and almost invariable failure to breed in captivity rule the animals out as a potential source for the compound. Fortunately, the researchers were able to use the pandas’ genetic recipe to synthesize the protein in the lab, and found that it can destroy certain bacteria in just a fraction of the time it takes currently available drugs to do the job. Now, the researchers are working to develop the panda peptide as a human weapon against drug-resistant bugs.
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