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Biotech Earth Medicine Science Technology

'Treasure Trove' In Oceans May Bring Revolutions In Medicine and Industry 107

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-may-bring-sea-monsters dept.
dryriver sends this excerpt from the Guardian: "Scientists have pinpointed a new treasure trove in our oceans: micro-organisms that contain millions of previously unknown genes and thousands of new families of proteins. These tiny marine wonders offer a chance to exploit a vast pool of material that could be used to create innovative medicines, industrial solvents, chemical treatments and other processes, scientists say. Researchers have already created new enzymes for treating sewage and chemicals for making soaps from material they have found in ocean organisms. 'The potential for marine biotechnology is almost infinite,' says Curtis Suttle, professor of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences at the University of British Columbia. 'It has become clear that most of the biological and genetic diversity on Earth is – by far – tied up in marine ecosystems, and in particular in their microbial components. By weight, more than 95% of all living organisms found in the oceans are microbial. This is an incredible resource.'"
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'Treasure Trove' In Oceans May Bring Revolutions In Medicine and Industry

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  • Re:Death (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 10, 2012 @08:35PM (#41946835)

    We'll wipe out all planet life before we can fully reap the benefits.

  • Re:Almost infinite? (Score:5, Informative)

    by fm6 (162816) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @09:31PM (#41947079) Homepage Journal

    I thoroughly agree with the point you're trying to make. But note that pesticides are not that strongly implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder. The problem is unknown in Australia, where pesticides are just as heavily used as anywhere else. It is extremely likely that it's due to some kind of environmental stress, which fits in with your abuse-of-resources theme.

  • by girlinatrainingbra (2738457) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @10:16PM (#41947255)
    Craig Venter [wikipedia.org] also did this in the not-so-distant past after working on the Human Genome Project. It was called the Global Ocean Sampling Expedition (GOSE) which was an ocean exploration genome project [wikipedia.org].

    GOSE also aimed to trawl the bio-diversity of marine life in order to perform metagenomics [wikipedia.org] analysis and find out about the diversity of marine genetic material. All of the data was put into UC-San-Diego's division of Cal-I-T2 (a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Institute_for_Telecommunications_and_Information_Technology>California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology

  • Re:Industry? (Score:5, Informative)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @10:33PM (#41947313)
    Maybe because it goes the other way in reality: the government funds the basic research, and then gives to private industries, often for next to nothing, who then sell it if it's profitable. Example: taxol [wikipedia.org].

    Look at it this way: most of the bragging about government achievements is done by politicians who signed off on it telling you why they should be re-elected or elected to higher offices. Big pharma spends way more on taking credit for medical breakthroughs (or just as often, trying to tell you something that's just repackaging is actually a medical breakthrough.) Who do you think gets credit in that tug of war? It's not the government-funded scientists either way.

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