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Beak of the snake: evolutionary causes and biomedical implications of venom variation in Brazilian lance-headed vipers (Bothrops sp.)


Venom proteins produced by snakes in the family Viperidae are one of the most widely-studied types of animal toxins. The goal of a recently initiated (2012) collaboration between researchers at Ohio State (Gibbs) and the Instituto Butantan in São Paulo (I. Junqueira de Azendo) is to use novel genomic approaches to identify the evolutionary causes of variation in snake venom composition in lanceheaded vipers (Bothrops sp.) and apply these insights from basic Science to direct the effective development of antivenom therapies. This proposal outlines a series of exchange activities between OSU and the Butantan to build this collaboration with short- and long-term goals in mind. Short-term (< 1 yr) goals include a combining of expertise in specific genomic methods to generate DNA capture arrays to study venom gene variation in natural snake populations, a short course on the generation and analysis of RADtag DNA markers by OSU personal at Butantan, shared information transfer through seminars and attendance at an international meeting, and visits with potential collaborators by Junqueria de Azendo while visiting the US. These feed into a long term goal of developing a broad research program to understand the genomic and proteomic basis for venom variation across all Bothrops species and what the functional and biomedical consequences of this variation are. (AU)

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