Researchers studying zebrafish that die from anemia have discovered a new pathway for the synthesis of heme, the deep red, iron-containing molecule that is a component of hemoglobin and myoglobin. The research suggests that defects in this pathway may be an overlooked cause of anemia in humans.
A research team led by Leonard I. Zon, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Childrens Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, published its findings in the August 18, 2005, issue of the journal Nature. Zon and his colleagues in Boston collaborated on the studies with researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center and the University of Utah School of Medicine.
The researchers began their studies hoping to learn why a zebrafish mutant known as shiraz (sir) failed to produce hemoglobin. The sir mutant zebrafish, which were first isolated by Zon and colleagues in the Tübingen Screen Consortium in Germany, intrigued the researchers because they die from anemia caused by lack of hemoglobin.
Jim Keeley | EurekAlert!
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