Animal Venomics

Andreas Vilcinskas

SUMMARY

It has been estimated that the approximately 170.000 known venomous animals produce at least 20 million compounds among which only 5.000 have been studied thus far. Sixteen animal venom derived drugs have reached the marked and four are in clinical trials. The tremendous diversity of venomous animals provides an indispensable biologic resource that is now being investigated in the project “Animal Venomics” as a source for valuable new compounds. Venomics represents an innovative approach combining sensitive –omics techniques to identify transcripts encoding venom toxins. Taking advantage from the rapidly developing bioinformatics tools for sequence-based drug discovery we will sequence the genomes of venomous animals and the transcriptomes of their venomous glands in order to identify novel peptides or proteins with therapeutic potential. Novel candidate peptides or proteins will be produced as synthetic or recombinant analogues to facilitate their biological profiling and the screening of their potential applications in medicine and plant protection.