Humans and dolphins may look quite different, but both are mammals and share many genetic similarities. Understanding these similarities can lead to improved health for both species.
McCallie alumnus Ben Neely '99, a member of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Marine Biochemical Sciences Group, and colleagues recently completed an index of all proteins found in the bottlenose dolphin genome.
The project was conducted at the Hollings Marine Laboratory, a research facility in Charleston, South Carolina.
“Once you can identify all of the proteins and know their amounts as expressed by the genome,” Neely said in a recent article posted on the National Institute of Standards and Technology website. “You can figure out what’s going on in the bottlenose dolphin’s biological systems in this really detailed manner.”
Neely’s study is part of a field called proteomics. Proteomic work has a wide variety of potential applications.
As an example, Neely's work identified the protein vanin-1, which is produced by both dolphins and human. Better understanding of this genetic protein could lead to treaments that can help the human kidney from disease.
Read more about Neely's work at the NIST website.