As well as their attempt to produce useful pharmaceutical compounds on a commercial scale, the researchers believe that successfully culturing these little known bacteria will give new insights into evolution.
Marine sponges were the first multicellular organisms to evolve on earth that are still alive. This implies that the relationship between the sponge and its bacterial inhabitants may also be very old, says Dr Detmer Sipkema. Therefore sponges are interesting to study the evolution of symbiosis, teaching us about the way different organisms have developed their mutual relationships.
|Contact: Lucy Goodchild|
Society for General Microbiology