UotH Annals of Science will be a column that reviews the prolific scientific papers of our time. For the inaugural installment, I present Dr. T. R. Tiersch's opus, "Apomorphine-induced vomiting in rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri)."
The opening passage speaks for itself, so I have reproduced it here in its entirety:
Vomiting, or emesis, has been well described in mammals, but little has been published about its occurrence in other vertebrates. Indirect evidence suggests that large, predatory fish were vomiting over 300 million years ago.
I challenge the reader to offer two sentences from any scientific writing that bleed with more genuine relevance than those quoted above. When this paper was published in 1988, the field of non-mammalian vomiting was in its infancy. Tiersch's work here paved the way for today's NonMamVom research.
Innovative methods, such as inserting plastic balls into the trout's esophagus, allowed concrete measurement of vomit magnitude. For the first time, vomiting behavior (VB) could be quantitatively described, which any Systems Biologist will tell you is pretty damn important. Table 3 demonstrates the power of the new VB metric:
Identifying VB also allowed the authors to distinguish emesis from other fish behaviors, such as a behavior the author's determined to be "coughing." By this simple observation, the untapped potential of the market for fish pharmaceuticals became immediately apparent.
Systematic research in fish emesis may furnish "ichthyoemetics" for use as an adjunct administered prior to existing techniques such as pulsed gastric lavage for collection of gastric contents from live fish.Word.
Mammalian vomiting behavior has had its day in the sun. Time to give fish a chance.