Column of the Chief Editor
We have started publication of a new scientific journal – “Studia Biologica”. At this moment, we can realize that a majority of scientific journals founded during the last decades, have been very narrow specialized ones. This is a tribute to a current scientific editing fashion which can be explained by a fact that at present, all serious scientists are so busy with their specific research problems and with fighting for their research grants, that they do not have enough time for reading something “needless”. However, it should be noted that the world leaders in the impact-factor among the scientific journals, are “Nature”, “Science”, and “Cell”, which have very general names. Broad and all-round names of these journals do not interfere that they are the most cites ones not only by the biologists working in different fields, but also by scientists who are working in many other scientific disciplines.
Our journal also got a general name “Studia Biologica” that goes against a dominating fashion to give the scientific journal a very specific name, and thus, restrict a subject of published articles by the problems of a very narrow scientific field. Such restriction is especially wide spread among the journals in the field of biology. As a result, we got to a point that many biologists stopped understanding one another, since each branch of biology has created its own terminological apparatus. For example, articles published in specialized molecular biology or immunology journals can be read and understood only by scientists who are working in the corresponding scientific field. This does not only restrict contacts between scientists working in these fields, but also causes exhausting of the arsenal of scientific ideas that are necessary to begin a new interesting investigation. That is why, an excessive attention to the analytical studies, without a proper addressing the synthetic studies, without any doubt, harms science development. It should be noted that a new branch of the biological science – the synthetic biology – has been introduced by a well known molecular biologist Waclaw Szybalski, and this branch is currently rapidly developing. The term “synthetic biology” is widely used by many investigators, and specialized scientific journals which use that term have appeared. It has been also applied as a title of numerous scientific meetings. Of course, specialists who are working in a narrow field, have more opportunities to focus at a very concrete scientific problem and get faster interesting results in their studies. These results can be interesting enough, but not fundamental, since the statistics distinctly demonstrates that the most outstanding scientific achievements have been received on the cross-road of two or more sciences, for example, biology and physics, biology and chemistry, biology, physics and chemistry, etc.
In order to provide the argumentation for the correctness of such statement, it is worth while to consider some examples from the history of selected scientific discoveries that distinctly demonstrate an important role of the interdisciplinary systemic approach in the biological studies. The American biologist Michael Zasloff has paid attention on the earlier known fact that frogs can be operated without sterilized surgery instruments, then let to swim in dirty water, and the inflammation process will not develop in these animals. This fact pushed the scientist towards a search in the frog skin of specific substances which possess the anti-infection activity. Such search was a successful one, and soon a new class of substances with a protective function was discovered. They were named magainins (originates from Jewish – protection). The continuation of these studies brought to a discovery of similar substances in insects and mammalians including man. They have polypeptide structure and consist of about 20 amino acids. The mechanism of their action is based on the interaction with bacteria plasma membrane that increases its non-selective permeability which finally causes the bacteria cell death. It should be noted that the magainins possess high affinity to specific phospholipids which are present in bacteria membrane, however, they do not interact with membranes of the eukaryotic cells that are rich in cholesterol. At present, the magainins are more frequently named as defensins. It is also of interest that in some time after his discovery, doctor Zasloff has found a company Magainin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Pennsylvania (USA) at which the Magainin Research Institute also exists. After that, most investigations in this field have been commercialized and publications where the terms magainins and defensins are used have disappeared from the information sources of the Internet.
Thus, Michael Zasloff has come to his discovery of a new class of anti-infection substances not by a traditional way in which testing of hundreds of existing or synthesized compounds is performed for a search of needed substance which possesses specific biological characteristics. He simply took into consideration his observation from life of the amphibians and predicted an existence of specific substances in skin of the amphibians. This example demonstrates a great productive force of deep analysis of biological phenomena. The term “productive force” was used here purposely, in order to note that the above described approach can really be a strategic one during a scientific search, as well as in other cases.
High efficiency of this strategy in a scientific search can be confirmed by another example taken from the activity of doctor Zasloff. This scientist was sure that while using such strategy he will be lucky once more in discovering new substances possessing the anti-infection action. He started traveling a lot and once, when visiting a research center which studied the life of sharks, he found that the duration of their pregnancy period is about 2 years. During that period, shark embryos stay in the fallopian tubes of female reproductive system. The liquid in these tubes is permanently changing, and the non-sterile sea water is used for that. Thus, sharks should have some mechanism of sterilizing the liquid of the fallopian tubes, and that mechanism should protect the embryos which are developing in these tubes. The immune system of sharks is very primitively organized and cannot guarantee such protection. A special search brought to a new discovery in 1993 of squalamine which belongs to a new class of the anti-microbial substances. It has an unusual structure, since it consists of dihydroxycholesterol molecule attached to spermidine molecule (decarboxylated diaminoacid). Such substances have a proper advantage comparing with the magainins, since they are resistant to the enzymatic degradation.
It should be also stressed that the squalamine testing for the anticancer activity has also been resultful. It was shown to be a strong inhibitor of angiogenesis, and is already used as an anticancer drug. The mechanism of its action is based on its interaction with Na+/H+-exchanger in the endothelial cells of blood vessels. It also inhibits mitogen-induced polymerization of the cytoskeleton protein actin, intercellular adhesion and cell migration, and stops proliferation of the endothelial cells. Squalamine is very effective in combination with other anticancer drugs, since it is capable of enhancing their action as inhibitors of growth of the malignant cells. The cartilage of shark is the best source for squalamine isolation, and it is known that shark’s skeleton is fully built of the cartilage.
Summarizing, I have attempted to demonstrate to the authors and readers of our journal that a productive exchange of new information between the representatives of different branches of the biological science, has not only a cognitive significance, but also should be a stimulus for searching for new scientific ideas. I sincerely wish getting new original ideas to the authors of the articles submitted to “Studia Biologica”, and getting valuable scientific discoveries to the readers of our journal. Besides, I wish both authors and readers a successful realization of the results of their scientific investigations.
Editor-in-Chief: Tsaryk, Josyph V.
Honorary Editor-in-Chief: Stoika, Rostyslav S.
Head of Editorial Office: Starunko, Igor M.
Responsible Secretary: Romanyuk, Nataliya D.
We publish contributions in the all Biology areas: Biochemistry; Biophysics; Botany; Cytology and Histology; Human and Animal Physiology; Ecology; Immunology; Genetics; Laboratory diagnostics of biological systems; Microbiology; Virology; Plant Physiology; Zoology.
Key title: Studia Biologica Biologichni Studiji
Abbreviated key title: Biol Studii
Publisher: Ivan Franko National University of Lviv
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.