calls for soil samples
The University of Oklahoma Natural Products Discovery Group has taken an unconventional approach to finding new compounds with therapeutic relevance by launching a crowdsourcing initiative with citizen scientists from around the country. With this approach, OU researchers team with the public to sample soils from all across the United States for the purpose of identifying new microorganisms that produce druglike compounds. This effort recently led to the discovery of maximiscin, a unique bioactive compound obtained from a soil sample submitted by an Alaskan citizen, which has shown early promising results by stopping the growth of melanoma cells in vivo.
During the last several years, the OU Natural Products Group has collected several thousand fungi from soil samples primarily obtained from three environmentally disparate regions: Alaska (artic/sub-arctic); Hawaii (tropical); and Oklahoma (subtropical/semi-arid).
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