Some of the variety of frogs can resist and survive a toxin which is 200 times more powerful than morphine. One such variety is poison dart frog in South American. These frogs contain a lot of poison which is enough to kill any predator but the poison doesn’t kill the frogs. The reason behind this is that the frogs have adapted their nervous system over time to fight with these deadly chemicals and save them from harm.
The study was funded by National Geographic Society, UT Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health along with several other study societies.
The new study discusses such a powerful evolution over time. Poison dart frogs do not make their own poison but get it from their diet of ants and mites. They are brightly coloured and extremely poisonous.
Whether it is snakes or scorpions, these predators inject their venom into the prey’s body to traumatise and paralyse their prey. The nervous system of the prey becomes a target for these predators that use it to kill. But, in case of poison dart frogs, such venoms don’t work.
The poison dart frogs consist of epibatidine which is like acetylcholine. Epibatidine transfers the messages between the neurons. The frogs use their DNA sequence to use their own receptors for acetylcholine. Epibatidine and acetylcholine bind together at the same neuron place in order to make sure that mutations don’t affect epibatidine and only acetylcholine can’t function.
Out of 800 compounds found in poisonous frogs, less than 70 have been understood. The frogs use their toxin which binds to the predator’s nervous system and leads to seizures or death. Epibatidine’s receptor is related to addiction and pain and hence the scientists are trying to solve the mystery of finding new drugs and more effective painkillers.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The frogs use their toxin to avoid the prey from eating them. The toxin does not act on the frog’s receptors and does not harm them. The toxin only affects the predators, causing lethal effects like seizures, hypertension and death.
There are numerous varieties of poisonous frogs which have a different types of neurotoxins. The scientists are trying to understand more about epibatidine which can be harvested to be used as a non-addictive painkiller.