$300,000 donation for Guy Harvey shark studies

Genome studies of white sharks could have major implications for human health. - Photo: Byron Dilkes

An anonymous donor has gifted US$300,000 to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to support shark research.

The foundation announced the donation Thursday. The money will be used to support shark genomic work being carried out at the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University.

The institute recently announced that it has successfully decoded the entire white shark genome, which it says could have major implications for human health.

“Sharks genetic makeup makes them predisposed to low cancer rates, rapid wound healing and anti-aging characteristics,” according to a statement from the institute.

Foundation chairman Guy Harvey said in the statement, “We are only beginning to understand the evolutionary traits that have made sharks such incredibly successful species and how those traits might impact human health. However, this work is very expensive. Without the support of generous individuals like this, none of this groundbreaking work would be possible.”

The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has committed US$100,000 per year over the next three years to continue and expand this genomic research.

In a statement, the donor said, “It is my great honor to help support the GHOF shark genomic research. The decoding of the shark’s genome is a momentous scientific achievement and I believe further research will prove useful in applications to human medicine in combating weak immune systems, cancers and age-related diseases. Knowing how these genes protect the shark from cancer will be a huge benefit for humans. Further research is imperative. It is, therefore, my hope that my donation will inspire other philanthropists to join me in my support of this exciting and life-changing endeavor.”

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