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Botanist

Glory

You and your botanist mates might stumble onto glory, depending on what you're working on.

Take sunburn, for example. "C'mon, even I know about photosynthesis and how plants need sunlight to grow," you say? Well, the next time you are oo-ing and ouching after getting a nasty sunburn, remember that the plants are silently laughing at you. They've actually evolved a protective mechanism against the sun's harmful rays and UV-induced cellular damage. When researchers remove this protective UVR8 protein from plants exposed to UVB rays, they don't grow well and look sickly. Apparently, upon sensing harmful UV radiation, plants turn on these UVR8 proteins that start a whole cascade of repair and protective processes. They are putting on their SPF30, stat. Molecular botanists hope that they can use the UVB8 technology to treat and/or prevent UVB-induced skin cancers.

Play your cards right, and you may bask in the glory of ending sunburn as we know it.

We could go on and on listing examples of glory in the work of a botanist, but just trust us on this one—plants have provided lots of chemicals with therapeutic potential, from anti-cancer compounds to compounds that combat the symptoms of schizophrenia. No doubt that plants' role in pharmaceutical research is here to stay, and we will need smart botanists out there to figure out all the snazzy tricks they have to offer.

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