Shocking discovery from an electric eel!

eel-228748_640Electric eels are fascinating animals, not only because they look pretty cool, but also because they can generate electricity¬†and deliver shocks of up to 600 volts. But they’re not the only fish that can produce electric fields, and recently, research at the University of Wisconsin, Madison has yielded some surprising information about the evolution of this ability- and what it could mean for other species.

Researchers analyzed the genes of the electric eel as well as other electric fish from unrelated families. It appears that there are a limited number of ways to evolve electric organs, and in at least six different fish, their electric organs evolved in the same way.

So… why should we care? By understanding the way electric organs were created through evolution, scientists may be able to gain the information needed to one day create electric organs in humans or other other animals. The zebrafish, a commonly used research animal, may play a role in attempts at this type of modification. If humans were able to have electric organs, they could possibly serve to power pacemakers, neurostimulators, or other implanted medical devices. Read more about it here:

http://www.npr.org/2014/06/26/325246710/a-shocking-fish-tale-surprises-evolutionary-biologists

One thought on “Shocking discovery from an electric eel!

  1. Alex Garcia

    I have always been fascinated by electric fish. The eel is amazing, there is also a catfish that can shock who ever tries to handle it. Great read, thanks.

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