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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 384572, 11 pages
Review Article

Genome-Based Studies of Marine Microorganisms to Maximize the Diversity of Natural Products Discovery for Medical Treatments

School of Life Science and Biotechnology, Dalian University of Technology, Linggong Road 2, Dalian 116024, China

Received 15 January 2011; Revised 15 April 2011; Accepted 3 June 2011

Copyright © 2011 Xin-Qing Zhao. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Marine microorganisms are rich source for natural products which play important roles in pharmaceutical industry. Over the past decade, genome-based studies of marine microorganisms have unveiled the tremendous diversity of the producers of natural products and also contributed to the efficiency of harness the strain diversity and chemical diversity, as well as the genetic diversity of marine microorganisms for the rapid discovery and generation of new natural products. In the meantime, genomic information retrieved from marine symbiotic microorganisms can also be employed for the discovery of new medical molecules from yet-unculturable microorganisms. In this paper, the recent progress in the genomic research of marine microorganisms is reviewed; new tools of genome mining as well as the advance in the activation of orphan pathways and metagenomic studies are summarized. Genome-based research of marine microorganisms will maximize the biodiscovery process and solve the problems of supply and sustainability of drug molecules for medical treatments.