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Department of Biological Sciences

Dr. Nathan Senner featured in the State

Horseshoe crabs are known to fertilize their eggs in masses on the beaches of the South Carolina coast during the spring and summer months. They are also known for their blood, which the pharmaceutical company Charles River uses to produce a test able to detect toxin contaminants. The test is largely employed to ensure that drugs and sterile devices are free of toxins. Importantly, it can now be made with a synthetic copy of the critical ingredient found in the horshoe crab blood. While pharmaceutical companies in Europe and Asia have switched to using this synthetic component, Charles River has not and continues to bleed horseshoe crabs for their production. In a fascinating investigation reported in the State, journalist Chiara Eisner discusses the economical gains and damaging impacts of crab exploitation as well as the risks of a possible loosening of restrictions on horseshoe crab fishing in protected areas along the coast.  Dr. Nathan Senner is interviewed and speaks about the potential impacts on Red Knot populations.  The science he discusses was notably the result of an awesome effort by the two lead undergrad authors, Maggie Pelton and Sara Padula, and their two graduate student mentors, Jenny Linscott and Julian Garcia-Walther.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.