Yesterday, I saw a cool paper that described a previously undiscovered mechanism used to detect ultraviolet and near-UV light. Researchers found that worms would move away from UV-light exposed to a portion of their body, but not similarly exposed sources of heat and/or other less intense wavelengths of light.
Pretty cool since worms don’t have eyes or any of the other half-dozen or so ways that organisms have evolved to detect light. They also tracked down the gene responsible for this response, which they termed LITE-1. (…cute, huh?) I’m sure lots of studies are going on right now to figure out how it does its job.
But what intrigued me most was that the worms’ response to evade UV light over-rode all other biological processes– worms are deathly afraid of UV light, it seems. (…and you might be too if your entire body was like 10 cells thick and a sunburn could be lethal…) And that got me thinking what other organisms are vulnerable to UV-light?
Of course – vampires.
So my hypothesis is that humans must possess an analog of LITE-1 that is normally dormant but activated by process of becoming a vampire (alternatively, the vampire’s bite may infect humans with a LITE-1 transgene – I’m not sure which makes more sense…). Anyway…in worms, activation causes locomotion, in vampires it induces a large exothermic reaction that quickly races out of control with continual exposure, leading to the vampire’s demise.
Now all I need is some vampire DNA for comparison…