Natural Products and Climate Change

Mark T. Hamann, PhD,
Charles and Carol Cooper/SmartState Endowed Chair Professor of Drug Discovery, Biomedical Sciences and Public Health Associate Member of the Hollings Cancer Center 70 President Street, Room 406 DDB, Medical University of South Carolina 140 Charleston, SC 29425, USA Office Phone: 843-876-2316 Lab 843-876-2458
Corresponding Author's Email: [email protected]
ABSTRACT

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing humankind in the generations to come are the issues related to climate change. Some projections suggest that over the next century the world could see a loss of 50 % of our species diversity. If these projections are indeed accurate the repercussions of a mass extinction event of this magnitude will alter life on the planet for millions of years to come. Among the many aspects of life impacted would be our ability to address the need for new chemical entities for the control of emerging and resistant infectious diseases and cancer. Some estimate suggest that the Earth has become home to an estimated 9 million species, each with an ecosystem of its own harboring dozens of culturable - and hundreds of currently unculturable - microorganisms. Other estimates that consider carefully the microbial communities put the planets species diversity closer to 1 trillion; in any scenario this represents a wealth of opportunities to discover and develop therapeutics for the diseases most threatening to humankind. The numbers of natural products from these unique ecosystems and their diversity of species is essentially limited only by a handful of physical constraints associated with the availability of elements which typically include just C,H,N,O and a handful of minerals as well as the number of bonds available to each element. Other subtle constraints which remain poorly defined in natural ecosystems include PK, bioavailability and stability.

Keywords: Climate Change, Natural Products
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