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E. Rich Medical Drug Resources at the Bottom of the Sea

Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California , San Diego discovered and are studying a rich medical drug resource in deep ocean sediments. The work is led by William Fenical, director of the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine.

Fenical: In the deepest parts of the ocean, in those cold, dark and muddy environments at the bottom of the sea live microorganisms in very large amounts that produce new antibiotics. And they are exactly the same types of microorganisms that have provided antibiotics for the pharmaceutical industry for the last sixty years.

Narrator: Land-based microbial sources for new drugs began dwindling about a decade ago and yet, before this research, the oceans which cover 70 percent of the planet's surface, went unexplored.

Fenical: What we're finding is a whole new source of antibiotics, anti-cancer agents and other drugs to treat a variety of different kinds of diseases.

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