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When we spend time in the sun, we are constantly reminded to apply sun cream throughout the day, in order to protect our skin against potentially harmful UV rays, which come from overexposure. So why isn't this the case for animals as well?

Close up of a farmyard chicken - Cormorant Hotel & Restaurant

Researchers at Oregon State University have found that various animal species found in the wild have the ability to naturally produce their own sunscreen, meaning they are protected against the ultraviolet rays.

Scientists have observed that many species of fish, reptiles, amphibians and birds produce a compound called gadusol, which provides protection against UV rays. Animals ranging from the American alligator to the humble farmyard chicken have been found to produce gadusol, and the gene that allows them to do so is similar to one found in algae.

Gadusol was first discovered in fish eggs, and may also play roles as an antioxidant, embryonic development, and other functions, as well as offering UV-B protection.

Researchers are continuing their work to try and better understand the importance of gadusol in the physiology of animals, but they have found a way to produce the compound, which may be used in advancements of sun creams and other pharmaceutical products.

Unfortunately, we humans do not have the ability to produce the compound, so when you visit our hotel in Fowey Cornwall, remember to pack your sun cream!

 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay, under Creative Commons

Tagged under: Cornwall   News   Summer