The use of DNA polymerases from T. aquaticus and other thermophiles in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and related applications, such as DNA sequencing, has revolutionized biotechnology. The humble T. aquaticus enormously expanded what questions could be practically addressed in fields ranging from biomedical science ("what is the genetic basis for disease X and does this patient have this disorder?") to animal behavior ("were all the young in this bluebird nest actually sired by the mother's apparent mate?") to conservation ("is this whale meat being sold truly from the species the seller claims?") to forensics ("can this accused criminal possibly have left the DNA evidence found at the crime scene?") and beyond.
In addition to its DNA polymerase, a range of other thermostable enzymes have been isolated from T. aquaticus for use in high temperature molecular biology applications. Largely as a result of the example of T. aquaticus, which has generated enormous profits for the biotechnology industry but not for the national park in which it was discovered (nor for U.S. taxpayers), the National Park Service now may require researchers working in national parks to sign "benefits sharing" agreements requiring that profits that may be derived at a later point in time from work done in the park be shared with the park.
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