Future potential for the production of new wonder drugs – including anti-cancer agents – from marine animals and plants, is under threat according to biodiversity expert Professor Carlo Heip, speaking at the European marine science and ocean technology conference EurOCEAN 2004 in Galway, today.
According to Professor Heip, marine biodiversity – the richness of life in the sea – is being undermined by overfishing, pollution, the introduction of exotic or alien species from other countries, by habitat destruction and global climate change. All this is reducing the number of species of animals and plants in the oceans, and with them any potential exploration and exploitation of chemical products, anti-cancer drugs and other pharmaceuticals.
“Marine biodiversity is very poorly known,” said Professor Heip. “Compared with the millions of species described on land, only a few hundred thousand species of marine plants and animals have been scientifically described.”
Lisa Fitzpatrick | alfa
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