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Looking for new compounds in sea is endangering ecosystem

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 09 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1350
  1. Andrew Cole
  1. London

The growing popularity of deep sea exploration for new products by drug companies and others is putting fragile marine ecosystems in serious danger, warns a new report. The report by the United Nations University's Institute for Advanced Studies calls for stricter regulations to govern the exploration and exploitation of the world's deep sea beds.

Although marine “bioprospecting”—the search for new genetic compounds—is still in its relative infancy, most large drug companies have marine biology departments and the financial benefits are proving considerable. The annual profits from a sea sponge compound used to treat …

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