CF Research May Help Agriculture
Cystic Fibrosis is often referred to as an orphan disease i.e. research benefits a relatively small portion of the general population. But here is a serendipitous situation in which CF research may help agriculture on a large scale.
A graduate student at the University of Oregon was trying to create a molecule that would light up in the presence of chloride. This would help scientists better understand cystic fibrosis and its treatments, because mutations in CFTR gene disrupt the movement of chloride across cell membranes. But instead of lighting up in the presence of chloride, Calden Carroll’s molecule lit up in the presence of nitrite — an important fertilizer in agriculture that is difficult to spread evenly and often has a lot of waste.
This discovery, stemming from CF research, could optimize agricultural production and significantly reduce environmental pollution.
Here is the NPR article where this discovery is described: Whoops! 12 Tales Of Accidental Brilliance In Science
Read more About SupraSensor, the company founded by Calden Carroll and several other entrepreneurs and scientists at the University of Oregon.