Beach to Bench to Bedside: Marine Invertebrate Biochemical Adaptations and Their Applications in Biotechnology and Biomedicine

Part of the Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation book series (RESULTS, volume 65)


The ocean covers more than 70% of the surface of the planet and harbors very diverse ecosystems ranging from tropical coral reefs to the deepest ocean trenches, with some of the most extreme conditions of pressure, temperature, and light. Organisms living in these environments have been subjected to strong selective pressures through millions of years of evolution, resulting in a plethora of remarkable adaptations that serve a variety of vital functions. Some of these adaptations, including venomous secretions and light-emitting compounds or ink, represent biochemical innovations in which marine invertebrates have developed novel and unique bioactive compounds with enormous potential for basic and applied research. Marine biotechnology, defined as the application of science and technology to marine organisms for the production of knowledge, goods, and services, can harness the enormous possibilities of these unique bioactive compounds acting as a bridge between biological knowledge and applications. This chapter highlights some of the most exceptional biochemical adaptions found specifically in marine invertebrates and describes the biotechnological and biomedical applications derived from them to improve the quality of human life.



MH acknowledges funding from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award and NSF awards CHE-1247550 and CHE-1228921.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad de Ciencias, Departamento de Biología (Zoología)Universidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Hunter College Belfer Research CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Sackler Institute of Comparative GenomicsAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.The Graduate Center, Program in Biology, Chemistry and BiochemistryCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of BiochemistryWeill Cornell MedicineNew YorkUSA

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