A team of scientists has begun collecting the genomes of sea creatures off the Florida coast in the hopes that unmapped species, some of which have the capacity to reverse disease and injury in themselves, may hold the key to new treatments for humans.
Of about 250,000 marine species identified so far, scientists have sequenced the genetic material of only about three dozen, according to University of Florida neuroscientist Leonid Moroz.
To speed up the process of making potential new discoveries, a team led by Moroz used a yacht loaded with a fully equipped genomic laboratory to do the sequencing on the ocean in real time.
The scientists sequenced 22 organisms during two test runs off Florida’s Atlantic coast near the Bahamas over two weeks ending in early April, Moroz said.
“If we could get a fleet of ships doing this, we could double our knowledge of the ocean in a year or two,” Moroz said.
Moroz specializes in comb jellies which he said are able to heal wounds in two to three hours and regenerate their brains in three to five days.