In the Future, We Might Take Sunscreen in Pill Form
A discovery in some fish suggests that sunblocking chemicals could be ingested rather than slathered on
The harmful rays of the sun can cause skin cancer, sunburns and can contribute to premature aging. For humans, the most effective way of preventing these side effects is by slathering on sunblock. But other animals have a better idea — they make their own sunblock naturally.
Take the zebrafish for example. Scientists have discovered that zebrafish and other animals produce a compound called gadusol that protects them from the rays of the sun. Though it’s long been known that fish use gadusol to protect themselves from the massive amounts of UV radiation found in the upper ocean, scientists used to think they could only obtain gadusol from food or relationships with bacteria. But when researchers looked more closely at zebrafish genes, they learned that fish combine an enzyme called EEVS and another protein to make gadusol in their own bodies.
As part of the experiment, the research team was able to create gadusol themselves by expressing the right genes in yeast. Which means they may have landed on a way to create ingestible sunscreen — if it works safely in humans, that is. The researchers are optimistic about the prospect: Taifo Mahmud, the study’s lead author, said in a release that “the fact that the compound is produced by fish, as well as by other animals including birds, makes it safe to ingest in pill form.”
Perhaps sunscreen in a pill is just around the corner. While you wait, though, organizations like the Skin Cancer Foundation say sunscreen in a bottle isn’t optional. They recommend that anyone planning to go outside invest in broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 15 or above.
Answer the following questions:
- How important is it to protect your skin?
- Will you be interested in taking sunscreen or will you continue buying sunscreen lotions? Tell us!
New language found in India
There are times when I wish that everyone in the world spoke the same language. I’m in awe of people who have mastered languages other than their own because I find it so difficult. While I might want English spoken everywhere I visit for my own ease, though, I’m also saddened by the loss of any of the thousands that currently exist. These languages are windows into the lives, histories and cultures of the people who speak them. Researchers estimate that at least half of the world’s 6,909 recognized languages are endangered, and one language dies out about every two weeks.
But as scientists rush to document languages before they disappear, sometimes the scientists also make incredible discoveries. This week two National Geographic Fellows announced that they had discovered a new language—called Koro—in the remote northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh in India. That area of the world is considered a “language hotspot,” host to a diversity of little-studied languages, often ones that have no written counterpart.
The researchers had gone to Arunachal Pradesh to study two poorly known languages, Aka and Miji, when they detected the third. Koro has a distinct set of sounds and word combinations, and the structure of words and sentences is also different. (Example: a pig is called a “vo” in Aka and a “lele” in Koro.) Despite the differences, though, area speakers consider Koro a dialect of Aka. The scientists hypothesize that the two are connected by the regions’s historical slave trade: Aka was spoken by the slave traders and Koro may have developed among the slaves.
Koro may not survive much longer, however. Only about 800 people currently speak the language, few under the age of 20, and it has not been written down.
Answer the following questions:
- Is it important to know languages other than your native language? Why?
- Could you please mention some other languages that you think are in danger of extinction?
Welcome to the blog that has been specifically designed for Comprensión Lectora en Inglés -Course 3 – administered by Idiomas Católica.
This blog aims at providing opportunities for participants to exchange information related to the course. Although our reading course is not meant to develop oral or written communication skills, we have noticed that many of you can and wish to “have your say” in English about issues that we look at in the course. Your participation in this blog can award you up to 5 points in the assessment area labelled Tareas de Evaluación Continua.
Ready to begin? It is easy. The questions on the next message are waiting to be answered! You may want to participate TWICE. The first time, just write your answers to the questions. The second time, you are supposed to reply somebody else’s answer.
Enjoy the experience!