Chinese scientists have found that the marine bivalve mollusc Meretrix petechialis is able to produce an antibiotic.

Exploring the habitat of the mollusk, namely the thickness of the coastal silt off the coast of China, biologists suggested that in contact with a variety of pathogens and microbes, mollusks should develop a powerful defense mechanism.

By studying the DNA of Meretrix petechialis, scientists have found a previously unknown gene responsible for encoding an enzyme that promotes the production of a natural antibiotic from the macrolide class. Its composition is very close to erythromycin.

Chinese experts described their discovery in an article published by the journal PNAS.