The Technological Center of the Sea-CETMAR Foundation presented on November 9 the seminar «From the ocean to the laboratory: Marine genetic resources and their application in the production of new bioactive molecules», whose objective was to analyze different aspects related to the use of marine genetic resources in the production of new bioactive molecules within the framework of the BlueHuman project.
The enormous diversity and characteristics of marine organisms makes them a key pillar for the search of new bioactive molecules with potential therapeutic effect. In order to explain its potential, four international experts came to Vigo to give an overview of the different steps that lead a research from the ocean to the laboratory. There are many scientific challenges that researchers have to overcome until they get a new drug (tissue collection; molecules isolation and identification of novel molecules; effectiveness against diseases; industrial production, etc.). Moreover, there are still issues related to legislative and administrative sectors, including those derived from the application of international agreements that regulate access to marine genetic resources (i.e. Nagoya Protocol).
- Alan Dobson, a researcher at University College Cork (Ireland), reviewed the available genomic strategies to unravel the biotechnological potential of marine organisms.
- Fernando Reyes, belonging to the Medina Foundation, reported on how the creation and exploitation of collections of natural product extracts can facilitate the search for molecules with therapeutic potential.
- Marcel Jaspars, researcher at the University of Aberdeen, presented the new existing strategies to isolate and identify bioactive products and to determine their chemical structure, an essential step for their production on a commercial scale.
- Alejandro Lago, manager of the UNDP-GEF Global ABS project, addressed the implications for researchers of the Nagoya Protocol on the access to genetic resources and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from their use.
The BlueHuman project
The BlueHuman project, led by the 3B’s research group of the Universidade do Minho and funded by Interreg Atlantic Area, seeks to promote the valorisation of marine resources and fisheries subproducts through biotechnology, developing new products with high added value. Its consortium, in which CETMAR participates leading the Communication sector, is made up of research groups and companies from France, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and United Kingdom.