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MOLECULAR BIOLOGY IN MARINE SCIENCE: SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONS, TECHNOLOGICAL APPROACHES, AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS MOLECULAR BIOLOGY IN MARINE SCIENCE: SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONS, TECHNOLOGICAL APPROACHES, AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS Committee on Molecular Marine Biology Ocean Studies Board National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C. 1994
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MOLECULAR BIOLOGY IN MARINE SCIENCE: SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONS, TECHNOLOGICAL APPROACHES, AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with the general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This work was sponsored by the Office of Naval Research through Contract No. N00014-91-J-1342 and the Department of Energy via Grant No. DE-FG05-90ER61-93. Cover art by Ellen Hill-Godfrey. Ms. Hill-Godfrey received her Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her paintings and prints have been exhibited in the Washington, D.C. area and throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southern regions of the United States. Ms. Hill-Godfrey has done illustrations for the University of Georgia Press and the University of North Carolina 's Endeavors. She lives in Germantown, Maryland and teaches at The Barnesville School. Copies of this report are available from Ocean Studies Board, National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20418 Copyright 1994 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
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MOLECULAR BIOLOGY IN MARINE SCIENCE: SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONS, TECHNOLOGICAL APPROACHES, AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS COMMITTEE ON MOLECULAR MARINE BIOLOGY Dennis Powers, Chairman, Stanford University, Stanford, CA Barbara Block, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL Peter Brewer, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Monterey, CA Sallie Chisholm, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Eric Davidson, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA William Fenical, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA Michael Hadfield, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI Robert Haselkorn, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL Daniel E. Morse, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA George Somero, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR A. Aristides Yayanos, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA Project Staff Mary Hope Katsouros, Director David Wilmot, Research Associate
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MOLECULAR BIOLOGY IN MARINE SCIENCE: SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONS, TECHNOLOGICAL APPROACHES, AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OCEAN STUDIES BOARD Current Members William Merrell, Chairman, Texas A&M University, Galveston, TX Robert Berner, Yale University, New Haven, CT Donald Boesch, University of Maryland, Cambridge, MD Kenneth Brink, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA Gerald A. Cann, Independent Consultant, Rockville, MD Robert Cannon, Stanford University, Stanford, CA Biliana Cicin-Sain, University of Delaware, Newark, DE William Curry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA Rana Fine, University of Miami, Miami, FL John E. Flipse, Texas A&M University (ret.), Georgetown, SC Michael Freilich, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR Gordon Greve, Amoco Production Company, Houston, TX Robert Knox, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA Arthur Nowell, University of Washington, Seattle, WA Peter Rhines, University of Washington, Seattle, WA Frank Richter, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL Brian Rothschild, University of Maryland, Solomons, MD Thomas C. Royer, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK Lynda Shapiro, University of Oregon, Charleston, OR Sharon Smith, University of Miami, Miami, FL Paul Stoffa, University of Texas, Austin, TX Members until December 31, 1993 Carl I. Wunsch, Chairman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Peter G. Brewer, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Monterey, CA Sallie W. Chisholm, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Edward A. Frieman, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA Arnold L. Gordon, Columbia University, Palisades, NY Dennis A. Powers, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
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MOLECULAR BIOLOGY IN MARINE SCIENCE: SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONS, TECHNOLOGICAL APPROACHES, AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS Staff Mary Hope Katsouros, Director Edward R. Urban, Jr., Staff Officer Robin Peuser, Research Associate David Wilmot, Research Associate Mary Pechacek, Administrative Associate LaVoncyé Mallory, Senior Secretary Curtis Taylor, Office Assistant
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MOLECULAR BIOLOGY IN MARINE SCIENCE: SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONS, TECHNOLOGICAL APPROACHES, AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES M. Gordon Wolman, Chairman, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD Patrick R. Atkins, Aluminum Company of America, Pittsburgh, PA Edith Brown Weiss, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC Edith Brown Weiss, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC Peter S. Eagleson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Edward A. Frieman, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA W. Barclay Kamb, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA Jack E. Oliver, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY Frank L. Parker, Vanderbilt/Clemson University, Nashville, TN Raymond A. Price, Queen's University at Kingston, Canada Thomas C. Schelling, University of Maryland, College Park, MD Larry L. Smarr, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL Steven M. Stanley, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD Victoria J. Tschinkel, Landers and Parsons, Tallahassee, FL Warren Washington, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO Staff Stephen Rattien, Executive Director Stephen D. Parker, Associate Executive Director Morgan Gopnik, Assistant Executive Director Jeanette Spoon, Administrative Officer Sandi Fitzpatrick, Administrative Associate Robin L. Allen, Senior Project Assistant
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MOLECULAR BIOLOGY IN MARINE SCIENCE: SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONS, TECHNOLOGICAL APPROACHES, AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS PREFACE This report describes molecular techniques that could be invaluable in addressing process-oriented problems in the ocean sciences that have perplexed oceanographers for decades, such as understanding the basis for biogeochemical processes, recruitment processes, upper-ocean dynamics, biological impacts of global warming, and ecological impacts of human activities. The coupling of highly sophisticated methods, such as satellite remote sensing, which permits synoptic monitoring of chemical, physical, and biological parameters over large areas, with the power of modern molecular tools for “ground truthing” at small scales could allow scientists to address questions about marine organisms and the ocean in which they live that could not be answered previously. Clearly, the marine sciences are on the threshold of an exciting new frontier of scientific discovery and economic opportunity. The ocean covers over 70 percent of the earth's surface and constitutes 90 to 95 percent of the biosphere by volume. It is a tremendous reservoir of high-quality food, biomedically important substances, organisms capable of degrading industrial and urban wastes or providing renewable nonpolluting energy, antibiofouling and anticorrosion substances, biosensors, biocatalysts, biopolymers, and many other industrially important compounds and products. Exploitation of the economic potential of the ocean could open frontiers of economic opportunity for entire new industries focusing on pharmaceuticals, specialty chemicals, aquaculture, and environmental engineering. The fundamental knowledge gained from basic molecular research on marine organisms will provide new opportunities for future developments important to the American economy, quality of life, and environmental health. In February 1990 the National Research Council sponsored a workshop to evaluate the potential application of molecular biological “tools ” to problems in marine biology and biological oceanography. Workshop participants, representing diverse disciplines, identified molecular techniques that could greatly enhance the effectiveness of marine research sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other agencies by providing more incisive tools than were presently available. Workshop participants felt that the use of these technologies would usher in an exciting era of oceanography and recommended that a National Research Council committee be formed to explore in more depth this important area.
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MOLECULAR BIOLOGY IN MARINE SCIENCE: SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONS, TECHNOLOGICAL APPROACHES, AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS As a result, the Committee on Molecular Marine Biology was established (1) to assist interested federal agencies in program planning and the development of research priorities in the area of molecular marine biology and (2) to review how molecular biological tools could be applied to advances in the marine sciences. Specifically, the committee proposed to produce a report detailing the basic research needs of the ocean science community, describing how molecular techniques could help answer fundamental questions about the biology of marine organisms and expand our understanding of oceanographic processes, and outlining the potential benefits to society that may result from such advances. The committee intended to strengthen the partnership between two vastly different scientific communities—oceanography (biological oceanography and marine biology) and molecular biology. A barrier to the transfer of molecular technologies from the molecular sciences into the ocean sciences was the fundamental philosophical, intellectual, and scale perception differences between biological oceanographers and molecular biologists. Biological oceanographers study oceanic plant and animal life in relation to marine environments that often range from small to global scales, while molecular biologists study biological events in terms of the physiochemical properties of molecules in a cell which tend to be measured at microscopic or submicroscopic scales. A third group of scientists, marine biologists, who study the basic biology of organisms that inhabit the sea, are a natural bridge between biological oceanographers and molecular biologists because they tend to use a broad array of technologies and scales that range from molecular to global in nature. Marine biology is a broad discipline that intersects the fields of biological oceanography, physiology, cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. The committee, which was composed of representatives from the three scientific disciplines, believed that biological oceanographers and molecular biologists, as well as the scientific community at large, would greatly benefit by the establishment of a closer working relationship or partnership between these scientific disciplines. Partnerships between such vastly different parties are often difficult initially; however, the committee believed that the advantages of a linkage between molecular biologists and oceanographers, with its tremendous potential for the ocean sciences in terms of information and technology transfer, well outweigh the cost of the effort. Although there continue to be some difficulties with effective communication, these difficulties will be resolved with continued effort and dialogue. This report is the result of committee discussion and debate stemming from the different philosophies of oceanographers, marine biologists, and molecular biologists. The report was laid out at the National Research Council workshop, reworked by the committee, and modified after external review. The distinction between biological oceanography and marine biology and the question of whether
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MOLECULAR BIOLOGY IN MARINE SCIENCE: SCIENTIFIC QUESTIONS, TECHNOLOGICAL APPROACHES, AND PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS the study of marine organisms as model systems is part of marine science were particularly difficult to resolve. The fact that marine organisms are used for basic studies outside “traditional” marine science does not mean that it is not marine science or should not be targeted in a molecular marine science initiative. To bridge such disciplinary gaps, a broader vision among all scientists is needed. The committee recognized that many researchers working on model marine systems are cellular-molecular biologists, not oceanographers, yet we tried to point out that the fundamental biology revealed by such studies is essential for an understanding of many oceanographic processes. Because of the divergent perspectives of the individuals involved in producing this report and the extensive discussion necessary to reach a consensus document, this report has taken several years to complete. As a result, several of the techniques and approaches described as imminent have already begun to make their way into marine science laboratories. However, their exploitation remains limited. Society is also becoming more aware of the implications of advancing marine science with molecular tools. For example, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Marine Biotechnology Investment Act in 1993, authorizing an expenditure of over $20 million per year for the next several years on basic marine biotechnology research through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Sea Grant Program. Although the Senate has not passed a similar bill, it is hoped that a compromise bill will become law in 1994. If biological oceanographers, marine biologists, and molecular biologists can continue to work toward a strong partnership during the next decade and recognize the intellectual and technological advantages and benefits of such a partnership, the twenty-first century will usher in an exciting new frontier of scientific achievement and economic opportunity for America that will rival the computer and biotechnological revolutions of the past two decades. Dennis Powers, Chairman Committee on Molecular Marine Biology
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