Lighting The Way

Tuberculosis sufferers are getting glowing help from the firefly

USING CURRENT TECHNIQUES, DOCTORS MUST WAIT up to 18 weeks for laboratory . results to identify which drugs effectively treat strains of tuberculosis. Now scientists have come up with an ingenious assay that promises to cut that time in half -- literally by shedding a new light on TB. Their bright new idea comes from the same gene that makes fireflies glow.

In a report to Science, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine say they insert the gene, which directs production of a light- emitting enzyme called luciferase, into tissue samples taken from TB patients. Within two hours, the...

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