Reaping Pharmacological Benefits from the Oceans

Second of two articles Editor's Note: In the Sept. 27 issue of The Scientist, the author discussed some of the possibilities scientists have for generating medicinal products from organisms that live in the oceans.1 In this issue is a discussion of some of the problems and complexities involved in pursuing such possibilities. Despite the allure and promise the oceans hold for providing new medicines, virtually every aspect of pharmacological research from oceanic sources is more difficult and

A. J. S. Rayl
Oct 10, 1999

Second of two articles

Editor's Note: In the Sept. 27 issue of The Scientist, the author discussed some of the possibilities scientists have for generating medicinal products from organisms that live in the oceans.1 In this issue is a discussion of some of the problems and complexities involved in pursuing such possibilities.

Despite the allure and promise the oceans hold for providing new medicines, virtually every aspect of pharmacological research from oceanic sources is more difficult and intrinsically slower than land-based research. And the obstacles are not likely to change anytime soon. "There are a lot of concerns about what I call Rio Convention issues; that is, if you discover something in another country's waters, will you ever be able to develop it?" explains John Faulkner, a marine chemist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "Some countries nowadays are controlling all research in their waters, meaning, basically, we...

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