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MARINE BIOTECHNOLOGY

BIOMAR ACTION

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Marine Biotechnology Action (BIOMAR) is coordinated by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI); its objective is to foster the sustainable use of the biotechnological potential of marine organisms in coastal and transition areas, as well as in maritime regions under national jurisdiction and of national interest. It focuses on the development of knowledge, technology uptake and the promotion of innovation in human, environmental, agricultural and industrial health.


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CREATION

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The biotechnological potential of marine biodiversity is one of the top priorities under development within the CIRM, as established in SectorIal Plan for the Resources of the Sea, currently in effect.

On September 14, 2005, by Ordinance No. 230/MB, by the Navy Commander and CIRM Coordinator, the Executive Committee BIOMAR, under the coordination of the Ministry of Science and Technology, known today as the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI), through the Secretariat of Research and Development Policies and Programs (MCT/SEPED).


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CONTEXT

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The marine environment accounts for about 70% of the planet's surface, and is home to about half of the world's biodiversity; however, few species are explored or used for biotechnological purposes.

Different forms of life can be found in Marine ecosystems - important resources in the development of a wide variety of applications. Marine organisms - such as sponges, tunicates, bryozoans, corals, macroalgae and microorganisms - produce small, structurally unique molecules (secondary metabolites), which have been attracting the attention of the scientific community for decades, especially due to their pharmacological and anti-fouling properties.

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Despite efforts over the past 40 years, very few drugs are available for human treatment, and there is no commercial anti-fouling compound of marine origin, mainly due to restrictions in the supply of raw materials. Marine organisms produce minute quantities of secondary metabolites. Thus, for the exploitation of such enormous potential to become a reality, studies must take into account the need for multiple approaches, not only the search for active molecules (this is widely known in many countries), but for sustainable ways of obtaining them, such as through the cultivation of micro- or macro-organisms that produce them (or even their tissues), chemical synthesis, combinatorial chemistry, recombinant genetics, the creation of an archive of structurally-similar bioactive molecules, the isolation of genes that produce bioactive metabolites for plasmid production, among others.

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The sea, under national jurisdiction, and the adjacent "Area" have a wide variety of marine organisms that produce secondary metabolites, or even macromolecules, of substantial biotechnological interest. Such biodiversity offers unexplored opportunities for the discovery of new genes, enzymes and fundamental processes, in the context of bioprospecting.

Since the creation of BIOMAR, four public bidding processes were carried out by CNPq, which culminated in 23 projects in this line of research. The Seminar on the Assessment of Bid Process MCT/CNPq/MS-SCTIE-DECIT/CT-Saúde No. 010/2006 - BIOMAR was also held, and provided an overview of the relevance, scope and the academic nature of this type of development. The book Features of the State-of-Art Marine Biotechnology in Brazil was also published, with a preliminary diagnosis of the subject in the country.


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OBJECTIVE

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BIOMAR's objectives are to foster and support the sustainable use of the biotechnological potential of marine biodiversity found in waters under national jurisdiction and other areas of national interest aiming at the scientific, technological and economic development.


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GOALS

- Expand to 30 the number of integrated projects within networks of multidisciplinary research on the biotechnological potential of marine biodiversity; and

- Create a Pilot Project of encouragement and support to patent registration and product development.image for link to index


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INDICATORS

The identification and measurement of aspects related to BIOMAR, done periodically, obey the following:

ADMEASUREMENT UNIT OF MEASURE REFERENCE
DATE INDEX

Integrated research projects on the biotechnological potential of marine biodiversity.

Source: MCTI

UN 2011 23

Pilot of encouragement and support to patent registration and product development.

Source: MCTI

UN 2011 0

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COMPOSITION

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BIOMAR Executive Committee operates within the Inter-ministerial Secretariat of the Inter-ministerial Commission for the Resources of the Sea (SECIRM), and is composed of representatives from the following institutions:

- Ministries: Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) - Coordinator, Defense (MD) , Foreign Relations (MRE), Mines and Energy (MME), Education (MEC), Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC), Environment (MMA), Fisheries and Aquaculture (MPA) And Health (MS).

- Government Entities: Navy of Brazil (MB), through the Navy General Staff (EMA), Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), the Secretariat of the Inter-ministerial Commission for the Resources of the Sea (SECIRM) and PETROBRAS.



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ACTIVITIES

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In developing the activities necessary to achieving its objectives, BIOMAR has chosen, among others, to:

- Diagnose and strengthen the capacity for research, development and innovation in marine biotechnology in Brazil;

- Establish mechanisms to support scientific research related to marine biotechnology;

- Expand scientific knowledge of marine biodiversity with biotechnological potential; and

- Stimulate the generation of innovative processes and products.


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PERSPECTIVAS

BIOMAR's activities are gradually being consolidated. This demonstrates the interest of the government, the scientific community and the industry in participating in the development of Marine Biodiversity Biotechnology, which will certainly be a major focus of the country's technological advances in the near future.

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Countless benefits to society emanate from marine biodiversity, such as new drugs and industrial products, raw materials for use in agriculture and aquaculture, and other materials that can be used in fuel production.

Furthermore, it is a promising market for industries already operating in this field, due to the multiple products generated from marine organisms.

Recent progress in the field of marine biotechnology point to the ability to produce genetic materials contained in plants, animals and microorganisms for aquaculture, health, agriculture and environmental sustainability. It shows how necessary it is to enhance studies conducted to identify new processes and products with market potential.


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