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Scientists are working with the light of fireflies to improve medical diagnoses
The Washington Post

Luciferase: Few people could say what it is, but just about anyone venturing outside on a summer night would be familiar with it. It’s the protein that makes fireflies glow, and a group of researchers thinks it will someday be used to detect cancer and other diseases.

The concept is pretty simple. Proteins essentially act like keys in the body. Their unique shape and structures are designed to attach to specific molecules in the body and cause reactions to take place — like giving off light in fireflies.

A group of Swiss scientists, whose work was published Wednesday in Nature Communications, took the protein from the insects and added a chemical tag so that when it attaches to another molecule, like one on a tumor cell, it will glow.

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