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Marine Biotechnology: Realizing the Potential

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Marine biotechnology is an applied science, the goal of which is to develop goods and services from marine organisms and processes. The new wave of marine biotechnology research began in the early 1980s and includes some significant success stories. A new drug to manage pain is commercially available, and a new cancer drug has been recommended for approval, the first from a fish-eating snail and the second from a mangrove tunicate. Enzymes from hydrothermal vent microbes are routinely used in PCR reactions, and marine-derived molecular probes are helping understand the molecular basis of disease processes. Advances in aquaculture biotechnology have resulted in more efficient production of finfish and shellfish for human consumption, and polyunsaturated fatty acids from marine microalgae are used as nutritional supplements for adults and infants. Rapid diagnostic tools have been developed to monitor toxins in the environment and in seafood, and genetic fingerprinting techniques are helping to control illegal trade of threatened marine species. In the future, multidisciplinary programs in oceans and human health should focus not only on microbial pathogens and harmful algal bloom toxins but also on discovery of new chemicals to prevent or treat human diseases. And the development of biological and biochemical sensors to detect pathogens, contaminants, and toxins and to monitor human and environmental health indicators in the marine environment should be a very high priority in the establishment of U.S. coastal ocean observing systems.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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