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Horseshoe Crabs Are Bled Alive To Create an Unparalleled Biomedical Technology

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the apparently-we're-a-race-of-vampires-to-horseshoe-crabs dept.

Biotech 159

Lasrick writes "Alexis Madrigal at the Atlantic: 'The marvelous thing about horseshoe crab blood, though, isn't the color. It's a chemical found only in the amoebocytes of its blood cells that can detect mere traces of bacterial presence and trap them in inescapable clots.' Madrigal continues, 'To take advantage of this biological idiosyncrasy, pharmaceutical companies burst the cells that contain the chemical, called coagulogen. Then, they can use the coagulogen to detect contamination in any solution that might come into contact with blood. If there are dangerous bacterial endotoxins in the liquid—even at a concentration of one part per trillion—the horseshoe crab blood extract will go to work, turning the solution into what scientist Fred Bang, who co-discovered the substance, called a "gel." ... I don't know about you, but the idea that every single person in America who has ever had an injection has been protected because we harvest the blood of a forgettable sea creature with a hidden chemical superpower makes me feel a little bit crazy. This scenario is not even sci-fi, it's postmodern technology.'"

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Bled Alive? (5, Funny)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 8 months ago | (#46349071)

Does PITA know about this? /ducks and covers

Re:Bled Alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349149)

I'd sure hope so, I hunger for their meaty replies.

Re:Bled Alive? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349221)

Does PITA know about this? /ducks and covers

No but HUMMUS Does

Re:Bled Alive? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 8 months ago | (#46349535)

...and THAT's just how they roll.

Re:Bled Alive? (3, Funny)

hey! (33014) | about 8 months ago | (#46350827)

That makes me felafel.

Re:Bled Alive? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349241)

Been going on for decades. [wikipedia.org] Nothing new here. If PE^HITA disagrees, perhaps they should explain why the crabs, which are really more like spiders, are more important than all the people whose lives have been saved by this practice.

Re:Bled Alive? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349261)

That was my first thought actually. Are they kept alive and 'donate' a little at a time, or are they bled dry and then just tossed on the barbie? The latter seems a bit erm, wasteful and shortsighted to say the least.

Also, as any biologist (or intelligent human) is aware, there is NO SUCH THING as a 'forgettable' creature. While the concept is interesting (if a bit discomforting), the summary reads like the ravings of sociopath.

Re:Bled Alive? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349353)

No, they take 30% of the crab's blood and do a distant release to avoid recapture. Research went into checking if the bleeders have reduced respawning. There's also research into a synthesizing the bacteria flagger.

It sounds savage and I'm not suggesting they're kind to the crabs, but it sounds like they're not being totally irresponsible and causing another dodo.

Re:Bled Alive? (1)

rthille (8526) | about 8 months ago | (#46350239)

I'm surprised they don't just mark them with the date of last bleeding and release them where they caught them.

Re:Bled Alive? (2)

srmalloy (263556) | about 8 months ago | (#46350467)

Marking their shell with the date of their harvest doesn't do you any good if you don't know how long it will be until the next time they moult; anything marking or attached to their shell will stay with the shell at moult, so if you harvest a crab, bleed it, mark the shell, and it moults a month later, you might pick up the same crab before it has a chance to recover.

Re:Bled Alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46350403)

Responsible varpires they are. They need to research magnetic field, or electric shock crab forgetfulness technology next to complete the picture.

Re:Bled Alive? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#46351089)

Yeah, saying they're "bled alive" is a lot like saying you are "bled alive" every time you donate blood. A bit misleading.

They are kept alive, and donate only once. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349727)

A small amount of blood is taken in a very careful manner, after which the creatures are released back into the sea. This harvesting is done only on adults, and iirc only once per year or so.

Re:Bled Alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46350313)

It's precisely because it's a "forgettable" creature that is such a potent argument for maintaining the bio-diversity of our world.

Imagine that one day there's a mollusk or a frog or species or anemone that holds a treatment or cure for some new bug or disease.

Re:Bled Alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349293)

Pita are bread you insensitive clod!

Re:Bled Alive? (1)

leonardluen (211265) | about 8 months ago | (#46349423)

but i like eating tasty animals in pita's you insensitive clod!

Re:Bled Alive? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349323)

Does PITA know about this? /ducks and covers

Don't worry.

When they find out they'll start indiscriminately slaughtering every horseshoe crab they can find.

Just like they do to every other animal they get their nasty hands on. [huffingtonpost.com]

Re:Bled Alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349371)

People for the Inhumane Treatment of Animals?
I'm pretty sure they started it... not for medical reasons, just for kicks; the medical benefits were a bonus though.

Re:Bled Alive? (2)

gnick (1211984) | about 8 months ago | (#46350931)

People for the Inhumane Treatment of Animals?

That sounds like a great idea! Try to adopt out cute fuzzy puppies who are well-fed and well-cared for, maybe and maybe not. But if you start juggling the little buggers - Just watch how fast people run up to snatch them out of your hands!

Re:Bled Alive? (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 8 months ago | (#46349435)

You're a moron.

Horse Shoe crabs have been fish bait for years (3, Informative)

Brigadier (12956) | about 8 months ago | (#46349515)

Horse Shoe crabs area already a depleted resource as they have been used as cheap bait for fishermen for years. The impact being subsequent affects to migratory birds who feast on there eggs. I don't think the pharmacological community have a choice but to treat these crustaceans with the respect due

http://www.endangeredspeciesin... [endangered...tional.org]

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature... [pbs.org]

Re: Horse Shoe crabs have been fish bait for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349689)

feast on THEIR eggs

Re: Horse Shoe crabs have been fish bait for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349955)

I see nothing in the first link that suggests that horseshoe crabs are endangered.

Quite frankly, I would be surprised if they were even close. Multitudes wash up on the beaches in SW Florida routinely after high tide.

Re: Horse Shoe crabs have been fish bait for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46350051)

Luckily, the litmus test for the health of a species isn't whether or not some dude says "I see a bunch in this one place".

Re: Horse Shoe crabs have been fish bait for years (1)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 8 months ago | (#46350807)

Litmus test [wikipedia.org] doesn't mean what you seem to think it means.

Re: Horse Shoe crabs have been fish bait for years (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 8 months ago | (#46351017)

Yeah... It does...

litmus test ...
2. Fig. A question or experiment that seeks to determine the state of one important factor. [thefreedictionary.com] His performance on the long exam served as a litmus test to determine whether he would go to college. The amount of white cells in my blood became the litmus test for diagnosing my disease.

However I would submit that anyone using the phrase, "I see a bunch in this one place," would fail the litmus test regarding whether or not he's qualified to diagnose the health of a species.

Re: Horse Shoe crabs have been fish bait for years (2)

Wookact (2804191) | about 8 months ago | (#46350485)

Well I am sorry but the wikipedia article for the horshoe crab found off the Atlantic and gulf coasts state that they are not presently endangered.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Bled Alive? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 8 months ago | (#46350349)

Does PITA know about this? /ducks and covers

I remember seeing an environmental lobbying video 20 years ago that featured the LAL assay (the assay in TFA). Horseshoe crabs do not need to be killed to harvest their blood, and at least at that time they were a threatened species.

I have no idea where PITA falls into this, but environmentalists in general should be all for properly managing and caring for this renewable resource.

Re:Bled Alive? (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 8 months ago | (#46351059)

Dag-nabbit. PITA is either Pain In The Ass or a type of bread. The "animals are people too" group (as opposed to the more rational, "people are animals too" group IMO) are PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Re:Bled Alive? (1)

maharvey (785540) | about 8 months ago | (#46350965)

Does PITA know about this? /ducks and covers

Pain In The Ass?

Re:Bled Alive? (1)

doggo (34827) | about 8 months ago | (#46351025)

Do they... at least give 'em a cup of juice after? And a cookie?

"Forgettable sea creature" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349097)

At least it's a crappy Atlantic columnist making this horrific observation instead of the scientist who discovered this.

Re:"Forgettable sea creature" (1)

raydobbs (99133) | about 8 months ago | (#46349459)

Agreed - article tagged !forgettableseacreature

Re:"Forgettable sea creature" (4, Informative)

NIK282000 (737852) | about 8 months ago | (#46349475)

There is nothing forgettable about horseshoe crabs. They are older than dinosaurs, the oldest fossils of horseshoe crabs are 450M years old!

Re:"Forgettable sea creature" (1)

laejoh (648921) | about 8 months ago | (#46350137)

Let's call them "Elder Things" then!

Re:"Forgettable sea creature" (1)

murkwood7 (807159) | about 8 months ago | (#46349533)

... a forgettable Atlantic columnist...

There, fixed that for ya!

Strong arguement for the preservation of species (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about 8 months ago | (#46349231)

There are many people who say that we should let endangered species die out because they are unfit in the current environment and it is just natural for them to die off.

This proves that some species could hold an amazing adaptation that could completely change how we live.

Re:Strong arguement for the preservation of specie (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 8 months ago | (#46349285)

Horseshoe crabs are hardly a forgotten species when they breed on beaches outside your back door...

Maybe this guy also forgot about the baby fur seals until somebody showed him a picture.

Re:Strong arguement for the preservation of specie (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 8 months ago | (#46350383)

I remember watching an environmental video in 1994 or so that featured the horseshoe crab for precisely this reason. They're actually a remarkable creature - I think they're only indigenous to the Delmarva region and they're basically living fossils. The blood is collected without harming the crab.

This is not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349243)

And this is not TIL on reddit.

The technique has been used for years.

Postmodern technology? (5, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46349245)

Why is it postmodern technology? Because it deconstructs the cells? ;-)

Re:Postmodern technology? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 8 months ago | (#46349959)

It seems to me that "postmodern technology" would by definition be science fiction.

Re:Postmodern technology? (2)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 8 months ago | (#46350303)

Because it isn't bad technology, it simply made bad choices.

WTF ? (1, Redundant)

vikingpower (768921) | about 8 months ago | (#46349251)

I mean, really: wtf ??

Rabbits were used first (5, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 8 months ago | (#46349255)

Before this discovery, they used to inject rabbits with the substance being tested, and measured if the rabbits got a fever. It was obviously not a great way to do things. Wasn't very quantifiable or sensitive. Source [essortment.com] .

Another bit of trivia: one of the other major commercial uses of horseshoe crabs is cutting them up for bait. Works well for that, but you obviously use up the crabs quickly. So we can inconvenience them for a life-saving medical wonder, or we can kill them for a few pounds of fish to eat. Naturally, using them as bait has not been outlawed.

One last bit of trivia: this isn't really news. I mean, I obviously find it cool, but seriously, 1960 was the discovery. Beta isn't bad enough, now they're altering the content too?

Re:Rabbits were used first (4, Informative)

Peristaltic (650487) | about 8 months ago | (#46349573)

One last bit of trivia: this isn't really news. I mean, I obviously find it cool, but seriously, 1960 was the discovery. Beta isn't bad enough, now they're altering the content too?

I, for one, cannot wait until the story headlined: "Justin Beiber's Totally RAD new computer!" hits the front page.

Maybe a new poll: "What color is your iPad?"

Re:Rabbits were used first (1)

otc-lame (3548441) | about 8 months ago | (#46349701)

One last bit of trivia: this isn't really news. I mean, I obviously find it cool, but seriously, 1960 was the discovery. Beta isn't bad enough, now they're altering the content too?

Perhaps they're trying to steal this awesome column [hackaday.com] from hackaday. I really wish they'd quite trying to make slashdot into something it's not...

Re:Rabbits were used first (3, Interesting)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#46349879)

Along the same lines, I imagine kids today have no idea what The Rabbit Done Died means.

I recall watching MASH* as a kid and still knowing the reference. I imagine it's all but forgotten today.

[Wikipedia tells me S6, Ep19...]

Re:Rabbits were used first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349925)

[medicine] or [bait]

False dichotomy.

Not that a false premise ever hinders public policy.

Re:Rabbits were used first (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 8 months ago | (#46349985)

"One last bit of trivia: this isn't really news. I mean, I obviously find it cool, but seriously, 1960 was the discovery."

Who cares. It's clearly stuff that matters, and fits well with the science and technology focus of Slashdot. It's nice to see Slashdot can still post something interesting.

Re:Rabbits were used first (1)

SlippyToad (240532) | about 8 months ago | (#46350251)

It's like /. was bought by a bunch of old guys.

Re:Rabbits were used first (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | about 8 months ago | (#46350739)

Actually the capturing of horseshoe crabs has been recently restricted in New Jersey and Deleware and outright banned in Sought Carolina. As it turns out this "forgettable" species provides food in the form of eggs to a number of migratory shorebirds that are in decline. The decline is partially blamed on the over fishing of the horseshoe crab.

Re:Rabbits were used first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46351243)

Before this discovery, they used to inject rabbits with the substance being tested, and measured if the rabbits got a fever.

Somewhat kinder to the rabbits than the old pregnancy tests, though....

Biodiversity and environmentalism (4, Insightful)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 8 months ago | (#46349273)

It's one of the big arguments for environmentalism and bio diversity. When push comes to shove you sometimes hear "so what if a few species go extinct? They weren't doing all that well before $BUSINESSACTIVITY, why should we try saving them? Why do I care about this species?". And the answer is that the creature represents a massive chain of thousands to millions of generations of genetic experimentation in real-world real-time environments. We're just starting to open Pandora's box of genetics and culling the biodiversity of the planet could be throwing away truly helpful and useful tools we could use in the future.

Plus genocide is just sort of a dick move.

Re:Biodiversity and environmentalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349561)

You can bet your ass that if $BUSINESSACTIVITY benefits from the presence of an endangered specie, that specie will never, EVER go extinct, EVER.

What we need to do is find a business use case for every endangered specie on the list so we can save them.

Twisted? Maybe, but you know it would work.

Re:Biodiversity and environmentalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349735)

Indeed. The whale tourism business is now a billion dollar industry. So now there are businesses that benefit from killing whales and other businesses that suffer from it.
And apparently, the whale tourism business is pushing for more protection for whales.
Just like you said.

Re:Biodiversity and environmentalism (1)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 8 months ago | (#46350901)

Not so.. Whales almost went extinct. Salmon are still heading that way.

do some reading before making comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349763)

These creatures are carefully caught and put in a device where a small amount of blood is drawn, similar to when a human donates blood. then they are carefully put back into the sea. This harvesting is done only once per year or something like that.

Re:do some reading before making comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349865)

do some reading before making comments

Eat your own words and read the comment that you're commenting on. He's not saying drawing blood from horseshoe crabs is bad or that it affects biodiversity or the horseshoe crab population. What he's saying is that we shouldn't let other species go extinct, because they could end up having some amazing benefit, like the horseshoe crab. This discovery was made in 1960...what if the horseshoe crab had gone extinct in 1959?

Re:Biodiversity and environmentalism (0)

geek (5680) | about 8 months ago | (#46349783)

The best way to keep a species around is to eat it. You'll never see chickens and cows go extinct so long as they are yummy.

That said, your argument is ridiculous. Species go extinct all the time, regardless of human intervention. It's called natural selection and we're not apart from it. If a species goes extinct because of us then it wasnt fit to live. Likewise if something comes along and kills all of us we werent fit to survive. Those are the breaks.

Re:Biodiversity and environmentalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349989)

The best way to keep a species around is to eat it.

Seems to work for whales, sharks, tuna, passenger pigeon, ......

FFS, do you think before you spew garbage on the internet sometimes?

Re:Biodiversity and environmentalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46350129)

The best way to keep a species around is to farm it.

Seems to work for whales, sharks, tuna, passenger pigeon, ......

FFS, do you think before you spew garbage on the internet sometimes?

FTFY

It's worked great for bees... Oh wait. Well nuts.

Re:Biodiversity and environmentalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46350229)

The best way to keep a species around is to eat it.

Is that why the population of Galapogos tortoises exploded once sailors started eating them?

Re:Biodiversity and environmentalism (2)

SlippyToad (240532) | about 8 months ago | (#46350265)

". If a species goes extinct because of us then it wasnt fit to live"

By who?

Maybe it was fit to cure cancer, and we weren't fit to know that because we're glib dumbasses and wasted them all before we bothered finding out.

Re:Biodiversity and environmentalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46350413)

Right... Because none of the species humans have hunted have ever gone extinct...

Holy fuck are you stupid.

Re:Biodiversity and environmentalism (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about 8 months ago | (#46350453)

That said, your argument is ridiculous. Species go extinct all the time, regardless of human intervention. It's called natural selection and we're not apart from it. If a species goes extinct because of us then it wasnt fit to live. Likewise if something comes along and kills all of us we werent fit to survive. Those are the breaks.

GP isn't making a value judgment like you are. He's making a utility judgment -- that casting away species before being able to assess their value is short-sighted.

That said, your argument is ridiculous if generalized. Just because something happens naturally does not mean it's okay if it happens by human will. Take human deaths, for example.

Re:Biodiversity and environmentalism (1)

marcgvky (949079) | about 8 months ago | (#46350697)

And, when one species moves out of a "specialization pocket", others move in to assume the advantage provided by that specialization gap. Strict environmentalists are really uninformed absolutists; they are as dangerous to civil society as absolutist industrialists.

You should study the reality behind how ecosystems adapt and reform equilibriums. Fear mongering about runaway ecosystems is a sign of weak minded foolishness.

Re:Biodiversity and environmentalism (2)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 8 months ago | (#46351231)

I'm more or less with you except for a few nuances and that mental turd you threw in there at the end.

When a species "moves out", is that a euphemism for genocide? Species can literally physically move out of an area for a lot of reasons. Or a species can have their home environment removed. Or their food source could dry up. Sometimes that includes moving into another area, but depending on the scale, it usually just means they all die.

A species that is a specialist (as opposed to a generalist) [wikipedia.org] usually can't have their "specialization pocket" be filled by someone else. That's the entire point of being a specialist. You out-compete the shit out of anyone that isn't dedicated to whatever niche thing you call your own.

This was explained to me by a guy at a nature park the other month: During periods of upheval, chaotic change, turbulence, whatnot, generalists are favored. They can better adapt to the change. That's what I was taught in school. But he then went on to point out that during static periods of stability, specialists are favored. They out-compete with others for a desired resource. And it's these species that develop some of the really interesting weird shit. Turns out if you spend a few million generations striving for a specific goal, sometimes they come up with creative solutions. Racoons and cockroaches might do a fantastic job of eating whatever they can get a hold of, but they don't have awesome super-vision like mantis shrimp or, you know, flight. (although, racoons do have neat cold-resistant-yet-sensative fingers)

You should study the reality behind how ecosystems adapt and reform equilibriums.

Uh. ok. Will do.

Anyway, my point here is that while certain species may take advantage of another's demise and "move in", it still means we lose a species that may have useful genetic information. And the sort of creatures that have weird freaky abilities are the exact sort that die off during periods of upheaval.

Fear mongering about runaway ecosystems is a sign of weak minded foolishness.

Wut?

What runaway ecosystems? Who mentioned that? Where are these strict environmentalists you're talking about? Are these crabs eating everything or something?

Aren't these an endangered species? (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | about 8 months ago | (#46349301)

We should probably figure out how to breed them in captivity before we go slitting a million throats every 2 years...

Re:Aren't these an endangered species? (1)

drkim (1559875) | about 8 months ago | (#46349471)

They don't kill them - they drain a little blood and release them in an area where they won't be picked up again.

half a million horseshoe crabs are captured (1)

BisuDagger (3458447) | about 8 months ago | (#46349543)

Quoting the article: "Each year, half a million horseshoe crabs are captured and bled alive" I think this makes them far from endangered although that is quite a lot of crabs to be caught by one company. Good riddance I say! Who wants a giant shelled scorpion spider crawling in our shallow waters anyway?

Re:Aren't these an endangered species? (4, Informative)

QRDeNameland (873957) | about 8 months ago | (#46349549)

According to Wikipedia, they are not an endangered species though there are reports of declining populations. As to breeding them in captivity:

Raising horseshoe crabs in captivity has proven to be difficult. Some evidence indicates mating only takes place in the presence of the sand or mud in which the horseshoe crab's eggs were hatched. Neither what is in the sand that the crab can sense nor how they sense it is known with certainty.

Re:Aren't these an endangered species? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 8 months ago | (#46350011)

Seems like a good opportunity for someone to buy a crabby beach and set up a farm. You could harvest blood all year, and probably cheaper than the catch and release approach. If you did it right you might even be able to use the beach as a beach (for people) and during breeding season convert it into a ecotour destination.

Re:Aren't these an endangered species? (1)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 8 months ago | (#46350945)

These things are scavengers that roam over a wide area. That kind of organism is difficult to farm.

Re:Aren't these an endangered species? (3, Funny)

kumanopuusan (698669) | about 8 months ago | (#46350033)

They're not endangered and they don't have throats. Also, before you ask, they're not crabs and they're not horseshoes.

Not an endangered species any more. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46351517)

Here's how it went down...

Every year since before I was born the horseshoe crabs have swarmed and spawned. Big Business (in the form of the tourism industry) hated this and encouraged farmers to grind them up for fertilizer - they literally ran heavy equipment up and down the beach scraping up the crabs, and farmers lined up with their trucks to take the crabs away and run them through grinders. Naturally, tax dollars funded a lot of this.

Then somebody found a pharma use for their blood.

Between the farmers, the hotels, and the pharma boys the crabs started getting killed faster than they breed... at which point Big Pharma had laws passed. (The only reason Delaware politics aren't considered outrageously corrupt is because New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland are right next door - everything's relative.) Now the hotels are out of the harvesting picture entirely (they push the crab spawning as a "nature tourism" event instead) and the farmers' harvests are strictly limited, and Big Pharma uses sustainable harvesting (bleeding) practices.

Totally true story. I was there for the whole thing, I played with horseshoe crabs as a child in the 1960s and I still live in the area.

So yes, they were very briefly endangered, but aren't any more. Because GOVERNMENT - otherwise it would have gone totally "tragedy of the commons" like silphium [wikipedia.org] did. Suck that slashdot Randroids!

Its just you. (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 8 months ago | (#46349355)

" I don't know about you, but the idea that every single person in America who has ever had an injection has been protected because we harvest the blood of a forgettable sea creature with a hidden chemical superpower makes me feel a little bit crazy. This scenario is not even sci-fi, it's postmodern technology.'"

What? I think you are assuming that we share you beliefs that this is somehow wrong or soemthing? Or are you just marvelled at scietific acomplishments? Or are you the guy with the beret from xkcd, who gets awestruck with danishes?

Blood type (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349485)

The properties of horseshoe crap blood have been known and used for a long, long time. This seems like it is just some sort of press release.
They have blue blood instead of red blood because they use copper, instead of iron, to move oxygen around their body.

Aren't we lucky? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349517)

Boy, am I glad there are no beings above us on the proverbial food chain to imprison us and literally bleed us alive for their medicine, slaughter us in cruel and unruly fashion to feed on, and generally treat us like we're "things" and not living creatures.

Re:Aren't we lucky? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349991)

and literally bleed us alive for their medicine

And millions of people voluntarily give blood to blood banks every year to save lives. If you were trolling, that was a terrible troll. If you were serious, you may want to rethink what you just stated.

Re:Aren't we lucky? (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 8 months ago | (#46350017)

Don't work for a major corporation hey?

Re:Aren't we lucky? (1)

maharvey (785540) | about 8 months ago | (#46350985)

It's good to be the king(s)!

Horseshoe crabs are bugs (1)

Danathar (267989) | about 8 months ago | (#46349553)

I don't think very many people eat them (not much meat on em) and as far as intelligence goes, maybe as about as intelligent as your average flying invertebrate?

Survivors (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 8 months ago | (#46351081)

Horseshoe crabs have been around for more than 400 million years. There are not many limbed animals that have survived with mostly the same design for that long. They are a wonder of nature. In the tech world, they would be roughly comparable to IBM System/360-dirived mainframes....except they still have the same horse-power, or should I say horse-shoe power.

Sensationalist Headline much? (4, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 months ago | (#46349569)

When I go to donate blood, am I in a room of people being "Bled Alive"? Technically yes but there's a good reason that term is not used to draw people to donate blood, and is also rather a bit much in this case too.

Re:Sensationalist Headline much? (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about 8 months ago | (#46349623)

I suppose if you have 30% of your blood extracted, and have a 10-30% chance of dying, then you are bled alive.

Re:Sensationalist Headline much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46351605)

I suppose if you have 30% of your blood extracted, and have a 10-30% chance of dying, then you are bled alive.

I donate 50% of my blood volume each year (the article says it's less often than annual, but isn't specific), however I haven't died, so I guess that doesn't count.

Re:Sensationalist Headline much? (1)

sydneyfong (410107) | about 8 months ago | (#46349921)

Depends. If you're kidnapped to the blood donation center and had your skin pierced and blood forcibly "removed" (I try not to use "bleed") from your body, while you are not dead yet, I suppose it fits the definition of being "bled alive".

Ummm perhaps... (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | about 8 months ago | (#46349579)

I would call it "post-modern" if we had figured out how to synthesize coagulogen in the lab - negating the need for harvesting horseshoe crabs. Pssst, don't spread the word about GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein) was discovered.

This is a story form the 1970's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349637)

Why is this on Slashdot? This was news in the 1970's. Did some shill get an article published?

Causing a migrating bird crash (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46349939)

Horseshoe crabs are now grossly over fished; some for medical and some for eel bait. The rarer they get, the higher the price and the more fishermen want them, thus resulting is a crash.

The crash destroyed the food supply of a rare shorebird called the Red Knot that depends on horseshoe crab eggs in the Spring during their migration. So they arrive exhausted and hungry in the DelMar area, but there is now no food. So the population of Red Knots has crashed.

Hank Hill says: (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 8 months ago | (#46349963)

"This is exactly what those environmentalists should be spending their time on: Finding ways to use nature against other forms of nature that are inconvenient to man."

Postmodern? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 8 months ago | (#46349971)

Do you mean it's described in meaningless subjective polysyllabic dialog and the results are a social construct?

Surely NOT. This is a scientific result. Rational, objective and modernist to the core.

Re:Postmodern? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46350103)

Do you mean it's described in meaningless subjective polysyllabic dialog and the results are a social construct?

Surely NOT. This is a scientific result. Rational, objective and modernist to the core.

I think the real explanation is that the person who abused the term "postmodern" is a hipster. The telltale verbiage is all over the piece. In fact, I would have had a bingo if he had just said "utterly triumphant".

Re:Postmodern? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46350373)

It's the Atlantic, no points for guessing the author is a hipster.

Just silly. (2)

meglon (1001833) | about 8 months ago | (#46350343)

"Alexis Madrigal at the Atlantic: 'The marvelous thing about horseshoe crab blood, though, isn't the color."

I'd suggest color be damned, the marvelous thing about them is that their blood isn't iron based, but copper based; 1 - a clear proof of convergent evolution; 2 - just really damn neat; and, 3 - proof that Spock, having deep green blood, must not be from a species that uses copper as a blood base (a fantastic way to make diehard trekkies squirm).

News? (3, Informative)

RedShoeRider (658314) | about 8 months ago | (#46350409)

As someone said, it's not exactly new. LAL testing has been boilerplate standard for better than 20 years now.

From a lab tech's point of view, LAL testing is brilliant. Mix 10mL of some sample that's supposedly "clean" into a premade LAL test kit. Snap the lid shut. Shake. Incubate for a day. If it changes color, it's positive for endotoxins. If it stays clear, it's negative. Simple as that. And being that the sensitivity is picograms/mL, it's great. Knowing the backstory is neat, too, from the tech's view. Which I am.

Re:News? (2)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 8 months ago | (#46350993)

That's great. Awesome. Knowing your profession is neat too, from a completely random stranger's point of view. Which I am.

WTF? "forgettable sea creature"? (4, Insightful)

Morpeth (577066) | about 8 months ago | (#46350411)

Seriously? Such an enlightened attitude.

Actually one of the strongest memories I have as a young child was coming across a horseshoe crab at a beach, it was in shallow water -- and it both scared the sh*t out of me, and had me intensely fascinated for a good long while. When an adult picked it up so I could see its underside and all those moving legs, I was absolutely, positively, enthralled. Nothing forgettable about it...

Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46351385)

I haven't been to the doctor in well over a year, and it was a year old National Geographic that I read this in at the time.

Get with the times and pick up a magazine for the latest news!

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