Coral from Australia's Great Barrier Reef has yielded a compound that could put a lot of sunscreen makers out of business. Researchers discovered that algae living in the coral created a compound that acts as a sunscreen to protect both the algae and the coral from the sun's rays. They say they are close to synthesizing the compound in the lab, and a pill to prevent both sunburn and eye damage could be on the market within 5 years, the Telegraph reports.
Early testing will be carried out on human skin obtained from cosmetic surgeons. "After taking the tablet you'd find the compound in your skin and eyes," the lead researcher explains. "There would have to be a lot of toxicology tests done first, but I imagine a sunscreen tablet might be developed in 5 years or so. Nothing like it exists at the moment." The research may also be used to develop sun-resistant crops, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. (Read more sunburn stories.)