They certainly look ugly but Lampreys have their uses in Biosensor as recently reported in PNAS. Lampreys are parasitic marine animals with a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth which bore into the flesh of other fish to suck their blood,
Lampreys in the Maremagnum exhibit of the Finisterrae Aquarium
in La Coruña, Galicia, Spain.
They are unique in that instead of immunoglobulin based immune system they have Variable Lympocyte Receptors (VLRs) consisting of leucine-rich repeat (LRR) modules. Now a group of researchers has used Yeast Surface Display Platform to clone and screen for high affinity binding Lamprey antibodies against several proteins with affinities ranging from low nanomolar to mid-picomolar. The Lamprey antibodies are a new addition to the affinity biological elements for detection of specific antigens and may be useful as a single chain alternative to natural antibodies for biosensing applications.