Fueling the Hummingbirds Extreme Biology
Hummingbirds burn massive amount of energy each day in order to sustain their rapid wingbeat of up to 60-80 beats each second. They need to eat almost constantly, maintaining blood sugar levels high enough to cause serious disease in human. To process that high volume of sugar, hummingbirds have evolved a metabolism 77 times faster than a human’s, made possible by hyper efficient enzymes. Scientists at Johns Hopkins, as part of an international collaboration, have sequenced the genetic code of the hummingbird liver, where many of these enzymes live. The next step in their project is to use the genetic information to study how those enzymes work. The researchers hope that their work could yield insights into what goes wrong in human diabetes and obesity, by showing how hummingbird evolution solved has them. Read the full story at http://bit.ly/JHMHummingbirds.