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Coral Reef’s Promise

Coral reefs house millions of species, and each holds the possibility of millions of cures.

SUMMER 2006
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Coral reef

David Doubilet

TEEMING WITH MILLIONS OF SPECIES, coral reefs provide astoundingly fertile ground for the discovery of molecules and, in turn, drugs. Such organisms as Caribbean sponges and cone-shell snails have yielded molecules that show promise in aiding research of such diseases as Alzheimer’s and cancer. As such earthly ailments as Staphylococcus and tuberculosis become resistant to antibiotics, coral reefs—and the oceans at large—are becoming an ever more important biomedical resource.

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