I read with interest your recent article on biomedical studies involving marine organisms (The Scientist, Oct. 2, 1989, page. 2). I was somewhat surprised to read that “...Carrado Spadafora has reported that the head of sperm from a sea urchin (Xenopus) is capable of transferring DNA into the cells of mice Since when has the African clawed frog (Xenopus) been a sea urchin?

Unfortunately, this little slip in nomenclature points out a major problem in research on marine invertebrates: that of finding biologists who are capable of identifying them. Among the most promising sources of pharmacologically active substances are sponges, colonial cnidarians, echinoderms, and ascidians. For many of these groups, there are fewer than 10 specialists in the entire world. No one is being trained to replace.the elderly among them. Many of these specialists have difficulty just keeping up with work on hand without taking new studies. The...

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