A unique project is taking a closer look at one of the many marvels from the sea — the comb jelly. Led by University of Florida neurobiologist Leonid Moroz, the research team has developed a unique floating lab that includes a genetic sequencer to tap into the mysteries of what Moroz calls the “aliens of the sea.”
Heading to the Florida Keys, the team targets this small translucent creature that can regrow and regenerate quickly after being sliced and diced. The team’s quest is to decode the genomic blueprints of fragile marine life in real time.
Housed inside a converted cargo container that can easily be hoisted onto any ship with adequate deck space, the researchers have access to the $50,000 genomic sequencing machine that is secured to a tilting tabletop that can adjust when the ship is in rough seas. Using satellite communications, the genetic data is fed to a supercomputer at the University of Florida, which analyzes the results in a few hours and sends it back to the boat.
[via Reuters on Yahoo!]