[Coral-List] demise of coral reef natural products

goldberg at fiu.edu goldberg at fiu.edu
Thu Jul 31 21:44:43 EDT 2003

With all the attention being given to the Science article on the 
Caribbean coral reef decline (e.g., 80% decline in cover in 30 
years is widespread, unexpected, scientists say By David Kohn 
Sun Staff July 18, 2003) we should be careful of  facts given to the 
public concerning the benefits of coral reefs. One of the authors 
appears to be quoted that AZT is derived from a Caribbean 
sponge. I've seen this misinformation before. Nucleoside analogs 
in sponges eventually led to the design of AZT. Sponges do not 
make AZT to the best of my knowledge.  There are  of course many 
natural  products derived from reef organisms. For better examples 
one can cite Prialt (analgesic from cone snail venom), 
Discodermalide (anti-cancer agent from sponges) and 
Pseudopterosin (an anti-inflammatory agent from a gorgonian), 
among others. 

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