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Hemidactylus at my-dejanews.com Hemidactylus at my-dejanews.com
Mon Feb 22 17:24:56 EST 1999

In article <7asclr$ei1$1 at fremont.ohsu.edu>,
  Matt Jones <jonesmat at ohsu.edu> wrote:
> In article <7anc70$boi$1 at winter.news.rcn.net> Chuck Kristensen,
> chuck at spiderpharm.com writes:
> >For instance, Latrodectus (widow spiders) have different toxins which are
> >selective for vertebrates, insects and crustacea. Agelenopsis (grass
> >spiders) have toxins which can distinguish different kinds of calcium
> >channels (e.g. N, L and P types) and Agelenopsis also has an assortment of
> >sodium channel agonists and glutamate receptor blockers.
> >
> Chuck, I don't think your idea is off the wall at all. It's the same
> evolutionary strategy that our immune system uses. We don't know what
> antigen or enemy we'll come up against, so one strategy is to keep a
> whole library of drugs or antibodies on board, just in case. Even if most
> of them never get used.

But at what level is the diversity generated? In the case of antibodies, the
immunoglobulin genes are shuffled during development. What is the case with
arachnid toxin diversity generation? Although the general principle might be
the same as you mention, I'd assume a distinction should be made for the

Scott Chase

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