Genetic Yacht Lab Maps Sea Life Looking for Cures

Posted by Eric Haun
Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A team of scientists has begun collecting the genomes of sea creatures off the Florida coast in the hopes that unmapped species, some of which have the capacity to reverse disease and injury in themselves, may hold the key to new treatments for humans.

Of about 250,000 marine species identified so far, scientists have sequenced the genetic material of only about three dozen, according to University of Florida neuroscientist Leonid Moroz.

To speed up the process of making potential new discoveries, a team led by Moroz used a yacht loaded with a fully equipped genomic laboratory to do the sequencing on the ocean in real time.

The scientists sequenced 22 organisms during two test runs off Florida's Atlantic coast near the Bahamas over two weeks ending in early April, Moroz said.

"If we could get a fleet of ships doing this, we could double our knowledge of the ocean in a year or two," Moroz said.

Moroz specializes in comb jellies which he said are able to heal wounds in two to three hours and regenerate their brains in three to five days.

Before the shipboard lab, fragile organisms plucked from the ocean often arrived dead or degraded at land-based laboratories. One specimen tested on the ship was so delicate Moroz said he had to scoop it in a plastic bag.

Moroz said he used a personal genome machine system linked via satellite to a University of Florida supercomputer to get results overnight.

U.F. alumnus and engineer Steven Sablotsky of Miami donated the use of his 141-foot specially equipped yacht, Copasetic, for two trial runs, also supported by NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Florida Biodiversity Institute located in the Florida keys.

Moroz also teamed with Gustav Paulay, the leading expert in tropical biodiversity and a curator of the Florida Museum of Natural History, who joined the trips.

Nearly half of the drugs in use today are derived from nature but Moroz sees the work as a race against time as the planet loses a species to extinction every six hours. Given that the oceans make up 70 percent of the Earth's surface, Moroz said scientists estimate the ocean could yield 14 to 20 million new compounds.

"We not only need to do it in principle, we need to do it fast," he said.

(By Barbara Liston; Editing by David Adams and James Dalgleish)

Maritime Reporter May 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Environmental

US Funding for Air Emissions/Alternative Energy Projects

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced that up to $1.3 million in Federal funding is now available through cooperative agreements for projects supporting

Torqeedo Introduces New Deep Blue Inboard

Torqeedo now offers a shaft drive version of its 40 and 80 horsepower Deep Blue motor. An electric drive designed for marine use from the ground up, the Deep Blue inboard shares the safety,

SoCal Beach Cleanup Could Take Months

The U.S. Coast Guard captain overseeing cleanup of oil spilled from a pipeline rupture that closed two California state beaches and fouled offshore waters near

News

DMW Marine Takes the Lead in Military Cranes

DMW Marine Group, LLC. has completed a number of projects for the U.S. Navy and foreign Navies in recent years, claiming a place as a go-to supplier for Navy departments globally.

US Oil Platform on Fire in Gulf Of Mexico

An oil platform caught fire and was evacuated in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico offshore Louisiana in the early hours of Friday, though no injuries were reported, the U.

USCG Tall Ship Sailing to the Bahamas

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle is scheduled to arrive at Berth 14 at Prince George Wharf in Nassau, Bahamas on Thursday, May 28 as part of its 2015 cadet summer training deployment.

Marine Science

IMO Adopts Polar Code Environmental Provisions

United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted the environmental part of the Polar Code. Hereby, internationally binding regulations on

Volume Up in Dutch Maritime Technology Sector

The Dutch maritime technology sector has had a good year. Turnover increased by 17%, from EUR 6.4 billion in 2013 to EUR 7.5 billion in 2014. The sector employed 31,680 FTEs, up from 29,361 in 2013.

Two Hurt in Petrobras Platform Accident; Output Halted

Brazil's state-led oil company Petrobras was forced to stop output at its P-56 offshore oil production ship on Wednesday in the Marlim Sul field after an explosion

Yachts

Two Rescued from Vessel Aground North of Cuba

Two American sailors whose vessel ran aground approximately 25 miles north of Gibara, Cuba, were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Friday. Watchstanders

Torqeedo Introduces New Deep Blue Inboard

Torqeedo now offers a shaft drive version of its 40 and 80 horsepower Deep Blue motor. An electric drive designed for marine use from the ground up, the Deep Blue inboard shares the safety,

USCG Stresses Importance of Free Vessel Safety Checks

As National Safe Boating Week continues, the Coast Guard 9th District is reminding boaters Sunday to get a free vessel safety check from the Coast Guard Auxiliary

Surveyors

Carrier Schedule Reliability Improves in April

Transport consultant Drewry’s Carrier Performance Insight (CPI) for April records 67.6%, up by 4.1 percentage improvement on the previous month in the aggregate

China Denies Kra Canal Deal

China has denied it is involved in work on the Kra canal, defusing hype over a project that purportedly lets ships bypass the Strait of Malacca and Singapore's port, reports Strait Times.

Koden’s CVS-FX Echosounder Compatible with Olex

Koden Electronics Co., Ltd. announced that its CVS-FX series echosounders (CVS-FX1, CVS-FX2 & CVS-FX2BB) are now fully compatible with the Olex 3D navigation system.

Ocean Observation

Volume Up in Dutch Maritime Technology Sector

The Dutch maritime technology sector has had a good year. Turnover increased by 17%, from EUR 6.4 billion in 2013 to EUR 7.5 billion in 2014. The sector employed 31,680 FTEs, up from 29,361 in 2013.

Globavista Launch Software Product Update

Globavista drives greater efficiency in vessel fleets by providing enhanced operational intelligence to fleet managers with new software product updates, the developer announced.

China Denies Kra Canal Deal

China has denied it is involved in work on the Kra canal, defusing hype over a project that purportedly lets ships bypass the Strait of Malacca and Singapore's port, reports Strait Times.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Repair Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1730 sec (6 req/sec)