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Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Quinn, Norman J.; Ferguson, Nadia-Deen; Gotchfeld, Deborah; Hamann, Mark N.; Stephenson, Jennifer I.; Walker, Larry; Kojis, Barbara L.
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Presenter
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Centre for Marine Sciences
Paper/Section Title
Discovering pharmacologically interesting natural products from the coral reefs of Jamaica [Abstract]
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Proceedings Title
Tenth international coral reef symposium
Date of Meeting
June 27 - July 2, 2004
Place of Meeting
Okinawa, Japan
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Abstract
Efforts to investigate novel pharmacological products from marine organisms, while working to conserve the biodiversity of coral reef habitats, have commenced in Jamaica. Open forum meetings with members of government, academia, fisherman and community organizations were conducted to learn of local concerns regarding coral reef exploitation. The potential for natural product pharmacological discoveries and their benefits to the community was explained. These meetings ensured that local interest were included in the search for biologically active compounds. Initial habitat surveys were conducted with the prior agreements with local stakeholders and requisite government permits.Natural products research and technology skills will be taught to University of the West Indies (UWI) graduate students in the coming years. Students are receiving training in coral reef monitoring techniques, marine organism taxonomy and marine chemical ecology. Work to develop a model of target population variability that provides biomedical researchers with sourcing strategies is in progress. This will help to limit overuse and subsequent damage to coral communities. Future efforts will evaluate marine natural products in a wide range of assays for anti-cancer activities. If the compounds are successfully commercialized, they will provide the royalties and impetus for sustainable economic development strategies while recognizing the limits of exploitation of coral reef communities. The value of biodiversity as a raw material for pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries is only a portion of its value to society. Community awareness programs stressed the need to conserve habitats whether or not they yield economically valuable material at this time. This project is providing an opportunity to create scientific/technological enrichment opportunities that work to strengthen sustainable development efforts in the Caribbean and provide socially valuable pharmaceutical products and biotechnologies.....
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