Saving Bugs To Find New Drugs Answers and Questions

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IELTS reading passage – Saving bugs to find new drugs

Saving bugs to find new drugs

Medicines increasingly draw inspiration from or are generated from components present in living organisms, despite widespread perception to the contrary. The practice of using natural remedies to treat sickness is nothing new; it dates back at least tens of thousands of years. Looking at other primates, such as capuchin monkeys who rub themselves with poisonous millipedes to ward off mosquitoes and chimpanzees who use poisonous forest plants to rid themselves of intestinal parasites, we can infer that our ancient ancestors probably also had a basic understanding of medicine.

These historical foundations were utilized by pharmaceutical science and chemistry to perfect the extraction, characterization, modification, and testing of these natural chemicals. Subsequently, modern pharmaceutical research switched its focus from nature to the laboratory, developing chemical compounds from scratch. Despite the fact that nature contains several promising chemical compounds, it is difficult to discover them. Obtaining enough of the target organism, isolating and characterizing the target chemicals, and producing enormous quantities of these substances are significant obstacles.

Different levels of success have been found with drug discovery in the lab, which has led to the creation of new approaches that focus once again on natural products. These new methods have resulted in an increase in the number of available drugs. It is abundantly obvious that we have not even begun to scratch the surface of nature’s molecular variety despite the fact that we are now able to explore genomes for valuable molecules. This realization, combined with certain impending health concerns such as antibiotic resistance, has put bioprospecting, which is the search for valuable substances in nature, back on the map. Bioprospecting is also known as pharmacognosy.

Insects, the undisputed kings of the world, occupy every available inch. Because of the myriad ways in which they interact with other organisms, a large range of incredibly fascinating chemicals have developed for both protective and offensive functions. More varieties than all other animal groupings combined may be found in them. Despite being by far the most diverse group of living things, insects have yet to fully fulfill their promise as sources of pharmaceutical compounds. The few insects that have been studied so far contain a wide range of fascinating compounds. For instance, South Korea and Russia both employ alloferon, an antibacterial compound produced by blowfly larvae. It is used to fight infections and cancers. The strong antibacterial compounds that the larvae of a few distinct insect species create are the subject of research. A chemical made from the venom of the Polybia Paulista wasp can be used to cure cancer.

The insect kingdom has been mostly ignored by bioprospectors, but why? To begin, there is such a wide variety of insects that it would be impossible to examine them all without a methodical approach. Second, the glands that exude potentially useful compounds from insects are often quite small. This might make it difficult to get sufficient quantities of the substance for additional testing. Finally, while people tend to think of insects in general, there are actually very few species that are as widespread as the ones we think of. We might not have enough to work with because many bug species are rare and difficult to breed in captivity.

In order to focus our efforts, my colleagues and I at Aberystwyth University in the UK have established a strategy using our understanding of ecology as a guide. We are particularly interested in the numerous insects that release potent poison to subdue prey and preserve it for later eating. Even more, insects are experts at utilizing dirty habitats, like feces and corpses, where they are sometimes hampered by tens of thousands of microorganisms. There is undoubtedly potential to discover several substances that can act as or serve as the inspiration for antibiotics given that these insects have a variety of antimicrobial properties for dealing with dangerous bacteria and fungi.

Despite pointing us on the proper path, natural history knowledge cannot resolve the issues related to harvesting valuable chemicals from insects. Thankfully, it is now feasible to remove the DNA segments from the insects that contain the instructions for the intriguing substances and introduce them into cell lines that enable higher production rates. The fact that there are so many successful animal-derived pharmaceuticals on the market also suggests there is a precedent in this area that is worth investigating, even though the path from isolating and characterization of compounds with desirable properties to developing a commercial product is very long and fraught with pitfalls. We deprive ourselves of possible cures with every piece of the wildness that vanishes.

The fundamental reason I approach insects in this way is conservation, even though it would be a dream come true to make a contribution to the development of a revolutionary cure that is derived from insects. I believe without a doubt that every species, regardless of how big they are or how important they are, has the right to exist for the sake of being. I believe that we have the ability to change people’s perspectives on the value of nature if we are able to shed light on the darker corners of nature’s drugstore and explore the helpful chemistry of the most diverse species on the earth. If we are able to do this, then people will see that nature is valuable.

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Questions 1-7

Reading Passage 1 has nine paragraphs, A-H Which paragraph contains the following information? Write the correct A-H letter in boxes 1-7 on your answer sheet.

  1. Mention key causes behind the resurgence of interest in herbal medicines.
  2. How recent developments in technology have made the study of insects more straightforward.
  3. Animals that derive their medicine from natural sources include the following.
  4. Reasons why using insects in pharmacological research is difficult.
  5. An allusion to the ways in which an interest in pharmacological development might be beneficial to nature.
  6. One of the reasons why medications derived from nature went out of favor for a while.
  7. A current illustration of an insect-derived medication.

Questions 8-9

Choose TWO letters, A-E Write the correct letters in boxes 8 and 9 on your answer sheet. Which TWO of the following make insects interesting for drug research?

  • Possibility of obtaining and using insect genetic material
  • The size of most insects which is manageable
  • The staggering diversity of the world’s insect population
  • The parallels that may be drawn between the many kinds of insects
  • Insects has created a wide range of compounds to defend themselves.

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Questions 10-13

Completes the summary below. Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 10-13 on your answer sheet.

Research at Aberystwyth University

Ross Piper and other zoologists at Aberystwyth University are doing bioprospecting with insects while utilizing their expertise in 10.______. The chemicals that insects create to suffocate and preserve their 11.______ are of particular interest to them. They are especially fascinated by the substances that insects deploy as defenses against hazardous bacteria and fungi that live in their 12.______. Piper expects that these materials will be helpful in the creation of pharmaceuticals like 13.______.

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Saving bugs to find new drugs Reading Answers

1. C
2. G
3. A
4. E
5. H
6. B
7. D
8. E
9. A
10. ecology
11. prey
12. habitats
13. antibiotics


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