Cnidarians have been known since ancient times for the painful stings they induce to humans. The effects of the stings range from skin irritation to cardiotoxicity and can result in death of human beings. The noxious effects of cnidarian venoms have stimulated the definition of their composition and their activity. Despite this interest, only a limited number of compounds extracted from cnidarian venoms have been identified and defined in detail. Venoms extracted from Anthozoa are likely the most studied, while venoms from Cubozoa attract research interests due to their lethal effects on humans. The investigation of cnidarian venoms has benefited in very recent times by the application of omics approaches. In this review, we propose an updated synopsis of the toxins identified in the venoms of the main classes of Cnidaria (Hydrozoa, Scyphozoa, Cubozoa, Staurozoa and Anthozoa). We have attempted to consider most of the available information, including a summary of the most recent results from omics and biotechnological studies, with the aim to define the state of the art in the field and provide a background for future research.
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