60mln-yr-old wallaby gene could hold key to overcome superbugs

Last Updated: Mon, Sep 05, 2011 11:50 hrs

Victorian scientists have resurrected the genes of a 60 million-year-old wallaby ancestor with a supercomputer to develop a compound that can kill off superbugs.

"By resurrecting genes from ancient mammalian ancestors, we may have uncovered ancient solutions to a very modern problem," the Herald Sun quoted Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh as saying.

"The anti-microbial peptide could be a potent weapon against dangerous pathogens, particularly mastitis which is one of the most serious threats to productivity in the dairy industry across the world.

"It may also hold tune key to fighting a range of serious diseases caused by drug resistant bacteria including superbugs found in hospitals and the community."

The Department of Primary Industries is now working with commercial partners to develop a way of administering the peptide to dairy cattle as a treatment for mastitis, as well as examining options for further development of the medical applications of the discovery. (ANI)

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