Scientists have discovered a new type of Botox -- the deadliest substance known -- according to a report from New Scientist.
Seeking to keep the substance out of the hands of nefarious Dr. Evil-types, the scientists have deliberately withheld its DNA sequence in their findings, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. This is apparently the first time a DNA sequence has been kept secret for security reasons.
And make no mistake, this stuff is very dangerous. The New Scientist reports that "injecting a mere 2 billionths of a gram, or inhaling 13 billionths of a gram, of the protein botulinum produced by the soil bacterium Clostridium botulinum will kill an adult."
How does it work? New Scientist explains that the toxin blocks the release of acetylcholine, a chemical secreted by nerves that makes muscles work. Those who accidentally ingest the substance can die of paralysis.
Until this discovery, there were seven known families of botulinum, named A to G.
The scientific team "sequenced the bacterial DNA that codes for the toxin, and found it constitutes a separate branch on the botulinum family tree," New Scientist explains.
As yet, it cannot be neutralized by available treatments.