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Old 22-08-2016, 18:13   #1
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GMO anti-fouling

Report on the potential to use genetic engineering to stop critters from fouling boats.

New research solves a mystery behind the gunk that sticks to the bottoms of boats

The gist is that creatures that adhere to marine surfaces require a bacteria to activate the genetic process transitioning from larval to adult stage (when they stick to things). By changing these bacteria or changing the genetic structure of the critter itself the transition to adult stage might be reversed. So instead of a biocide a future bottom paint might contain some kind of anti-bacterial property.

I guess it could be dangerous to "fool" Mother Nature but some big players are helping to fund this research (e.g. US Navy). Thus it seems to be a serious effort to understand what is possible.
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Old 22-08-2016, 19:32   #2
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Re: GMO anti-fouling

Thanks for the alert, Dan. Much appreciated.

The PNAS paper is available at: Stepwise metamorphosis of the tubeworm Hydroides elegans is mediated by a bacterial inducer and MAPK signaling

I've attached the first page, which includes the abstract.

The paper of course explains why the massive blunt force attack technique of adding a broad-spectrum antibiotic works. That blunt force attack would likely have unintended consequences if used.

The paper hints at more sophisticated antifouling techniques for the future, such as disrupting the kinase signaling pathway they identified. And of course more work needs be done to see if bacteria other than Psuedoalteromonas luteoviolacea are involved and other mechanisms for other larvae.
“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” - Otto von Bismarck
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