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Mollusks Could Be Responsible For The Future Medications

January 30, 2013

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

Two new mollusk-based studies from the Oregon Health & Science University show that new cutting-edge medications could be developed by simply looking to the sea.

Because of accessibility issues, the ocean has always been a difficult place for identifying and utilizing the natural resources located there. Sadly, when many of these resources were tapped, they were done so in an unsustainable manner.

The first study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) focused on the long, skinny marine creature known as the shipworm. The term shipworm is actually a misnomer as the animal is not a worm, but a mollusk. It gets its name from its appearance and also it reputation for affixing itself to wooden ships and then feeding on the wood, causing damage to the hull.

Shipworms are able to digest the wood, typically considered a poor food source, through the creative use of bacteria in its gut. This bacteria peaked researchers interest and they were able to identify a powerful antibiotic that the mysterious single-celled organisms produce.

The research team speculated that this antibiotic could lead to groundbreaking new medications that could be used in the ongoing battle against infections.

Read more: Future Medications Could Come From Mollusks – Science News – redOrbit.

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