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Pure Appl. Chem., 2002, Vol. 74, No. 4, pp. 519-526

Australian biodiversity via its plants and marine organisms. A high-throughput screening approach to drug discovery

Ronald J. Quinn1*, Priscila de Almeida Leone1, Gordon Guymer2 and John N. A. Hooper3

1 AstraZeneca R&D Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, 4111, Australia
2 Queensland Herbarium, Brisbane, Queensland, 4066, Australia
3 Queensland Museum, Brisbane, Queensland, 4101, Australia

High-throughput screening (HTS) of extracts of Australian plants and marine organisms commenced in our laboratory in 1994. The biota collections commenced in late 1993. The collection has in excess of 30 000 biota samples including over 16 000 biota samples of vascular plants, algae, and macro fungi from Queensland, and over 4000 marine invertebrates from Australian waters. The plant collection represents ∼9 % of the world species diversity of higher plants, with representation from 73 % of the world's plant families. The marine collection contains ∼10 % of the world diversity of sponges, ∼10 % of the world diversity of ascidians, and ∼5 % of the world diversity of soft corals and gorgonians.
The lecture will highlight some of the advances to knowledge about Australian biodiversity as a result of the HTS project, discuss drug discovery using HTS, and give some examples of the chemistry arising from the screening of the extracts.