Scientists Solve The Mystery Of Green-Blooded Lizard

Posted: May 19 2018, 12:24pm CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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Scientists Solve the Mystery of Green-Blooded Lizard
Credit: Chris Austin, LSU

Study shows that green blood evolved independently on at least four separate occasions

In animal kingdom, blood is not always red. Several species have unique fluid running through their veins and prasinohaema lizard is a perfect example of such weird creatures. This group of lizard lives almost exclusively on the in the island of New Guinea and bleed lime green. In fact, their muscles, bones and tongues are also green due to high levels of green bile pigment. Surprisingly, prasinohaema lizards remain healthy despite the fact that they contain toxic green bile 40 times higher than the lethal concentration in humans.

“In addition to having the highest concentration of biliverdin recorded for any animal, these lizards have somehow evolved a resistance to bile pigment toxicity. Understanding the underlying physiological changes that have allowed these lizards to remain jaundice-free may translate to non-traditional approaches to specific health problems.” Lead author Zachary Rodriguez from Louisiana State University Department of Biological Sciences Professor Chris Austin’s lab said.

To solve the mystery, researchers investigated the evolutionary history of green-blooded lizards. They examined 51 species of skinks in New Guinea, which included six species with green blood. Two of those species were new to science. Researchers found that that there are four separate lineages of green-blooded lizards and each likely shared a red-blooded ancestor, suggesting that the trait has a unique evolutionary advantage.

Previous studies have shown that bile pigment in these lizards help fight many diseases. But the exact function of the green blood is still unknown.

"The green-blooded skinks of New Guinea are fascinating to me as a parasitologist because a similar liver product, bilirubin, is known to be toxic to human malaria parasites. ," said co-author Susan Perkins. “Ongoing work with the Austin lab examines the potential effect of the green blood pigment on malaria and other parasites that infect these lizards.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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