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A.Marine Bacteria May Lead to a New Source of Anti-Cancer Drugs

Narrator: This is Science Today. A bacteria living inside a small marine animal may be the source of a new drug compound that can be developed to fight cancer. Margo Haygood, a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, says this anticancer compound is found inside a bryozoan.

Haygood: A bryozoan is an animal - it looks like a plant but it's actually a colonial animal, which means it has many small individuals that all live together. The amazing thing about it is that even animals that are considered a nuisance like this, because it grows on boats, can still be full of surprises and still have very worthwhile human uses.

Narrator: Haygood identified a gene that produces the anticancer compound and will now be exploring ways to grow the bacteria outside these marine animals.

Haygood: Since we have been able to find the genes of the right sort, we are cloning out the whole biosynthetic pathway to make the compound to be able to make lots and lots of it so that we can have as much as we need for being able to treat disease.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.