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Biotech firm and conservation organization seeks your help for coral research

By Leonard Ho - Posted Jun 05, 2014 09:00 AM
Symbiotechs, a company "specialized in the sustainable sourcing and innovative screening methods for faster drugs discoveries from corals," and the non-profit reef conservation organization Coral Guardian are seeking crowd-source funding to study TGFB-Beta molecules in corals.

TGFB-Beta is a molecule in zooxanthellate corals that science believes may play a role in allowing the important symbiotic relationship between coral and algae to happen.  In essence, it is believed this molecule tells the coral to "tolerate" the life-sustaining zooxanthellae instead of treating them like some foreign invader, which gets "attacked" by the host animals' immune system.  When temperatures rise, some researchers theorize that the heat may confuse the corals who no longer recognize zooxanthellae as allies anymore.  Bleaching ensues.

However, not much is actually known about TGFB-Beta's role and mechanism within corals.  And that's why Coral Guardian and Symbiotech want to research the subject.  The primary goal is to better understand TGFB-Beta and the causes of coral bleaching.  In the bigger picture, the biotech firm Symbiotech hopes that helping to preserve coral reefs - which are a vast depository of untapped chemicals - can also help them develop drugs to combat cancer, HIV, Alzheimers, and other human diseases.

Donations will be used to "cover the costs of transportation, housing, leasing laboratories and molecular biology reagents and labware." Visit the project's KissKissBankBank crowd-source funding webpage to learn more or to make a contribution.

To better understand some of what Coral Guardian does, here is an article we wrote about Coral Guardian's recent reef restoration efforts.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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