A Firefly Fireflies appear more beneficial in the health world than previously thought. A groundbreaking research asserts that the enzyme making fireflies glow helps in providing better monitor treatment with heparin. Apparently heparin is the blood thinner employed by innumerable people for avoiding or treating blood clots.

The enzyme present in fireflies may be important medical imaging agents when employing the heparin treatment. While subjecting patients to heparin treatment, physicians possibly require medical imaging agents emitting near-infrared light commonly termed as ‘night vision’ that allows soldiers to see in the dark. Such rays supposedly penetrate deeper into the body and offer doctors a better means to detect proteins involved in blood clotting.

The enzyme luciferase that presumably makes lightning bugs glow was tested in the laboratory by scientists. Bruce Branchini and colleagues combined a protein from firefly luciferase with a special dye. This combination possibly enabled the protein to release near-infrared light. It was concluded that the new material helps identify minute amounts of a specific blood protein, called factor Xa that is allegedly used to monitor the effectiveness of heparin treatment.

The research is published in the ACS’ monthly journal Bioconjugate Chemistry.