DATABASE: The Crustacean Cure

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Science  07 Apr 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5770, pp. 29
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5770.29d

Ever since Alexander Fleming spied an errant mold growing on a culture dish, most antibiotics have come from fungi and bacteria. A new generation of the drugs could hail from creatures best known as a tasty dish: shrimp, which battle microbial interlopers using peptides known as penaeidins. Immunologists, drug designers, and other researchers can learn more about these molecules at PenBase, sponsored by an international team of scientists. A database lists amino acid and DNA sequences for 28 of the bug-killing compounds, more than half of which are products of the Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). The site also serves up a nomenclature guide, a bibliography, and a roster of PCR primers for duplicating penaeidin genes.

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