In order to protect ourselves from the damaging effects of the sun’s radiations, we must always put sunscreen on our bodies whenever we go outside, otherwise we can get sunburned and risk to be affected by various skin diseases.
But how do some animals that spend a lot of their time in the sun manage to protect their skin?
A team of researchers has tried to come up with an answer to this question so they conducted a new study in which they analyzed how animals can protect themselves against the damaging effects of the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
The study was conducted by a group of scientists from Oregon State University and according to their findings, the skin of numerous wild animals naturally produce sunscreen to shield them from the sun.
Researchers have found that many species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish produce a natural compound called gadusol, which protects their body against the harmful rays of the sun.
Taifo Mahmud, professor at OSU College of Pharmacy and one of the researchers involved in the study, explained that mammals and humans do not have the ability to produce this compound, but numerous other species of animals do.
Professor Mahmud said that the ability to produce gadusol was first observed in fish eggs and it is extremely important for so many species.
Professor Mahmud talked about the recent discovery in a press release, saying that this special compound that some animals produce naturally provides UV-B protection and it acts as a very efficient sunscreen. Also, this compound plays an important role as an antioxidant and is good for the development of the embryo.
The team of scientists also found a way to produce the gadusol compound using natural yeast. According to the experts, this could be used as the main ingredient in different sunscreen, pharmaceutical or cosmetic products.
The authors of the new study said that the gene responsible for allowing some of the animal species to produce gadusol is similar to a special gene found in algae.
Researchers say this gene can be found in different species of animals, such as the American alligator, the rainbow trout, farmyard chickens and green sea turtles.
According to the scientists, more research is needed in order to better understand how important gadusol is in the physiology and ecology of the animals.
The findings of the new study were published in the scientific journal eLife.
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