Many important medications have been discovered by bioprospecting including the diabetes drug metformin (developed from a natural product found in Galega officinalis).[1]

Bioprospecting (also known as biodiversity prospecting) is the exploration of natural sources for small molecules, macromolecules and biochemical and genetic information that could be developed into commercially valuable products for the agricultural,[2][3] aquaculture,[4][5] bioremediation,[4][6] cosmetics,[7][8] nanotechnology,[4][9] or pharmaceutical[2][10] industries. In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, almost one third of all small-molecule drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 1981 and 2014 were either natural products or compounds derived from natural products.[11]

Terrestrial plants, fungi and actinobacteria have been the focus of many past bioprospecting programs,[12] but interest is growing in less explored ecosystems (e.g. seas and oceans) and organisms (e.g. myxobacteria, archaea) as a means of identifying new compounds with novel biological activities.[7][10][13][14] Species may be randomly screened for bioactivity or rationally selected and screened based on ecological, ethnobiological, ethnomedical, historical or genomic information.[10][15][16]

When a region's biological resources or indigenous knowledge are unethically appropriated or commercially exploited without providing fair compensation, this is known as biopiracy.[12][17] Various international treaties have been negotiated to provide countries legal recourse in the event of biopiracy and to offer commercial actors legal certainty for investment. These include the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol.[2][10]

Other risks associated with bioprospecting are the overharvesting of individual species and environmental damage, but legislation has been developed to combat these also. Examples include national laws such as the US Marine Mammal Protection Act and US Endangered Species Act, and international treaties such as the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the Antarctic Treaty.[10][18]

  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference pmid29077533 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b c "Mobilizing funding for biodiversity conservation: a user-friendly training guide" (PDF). United Nations. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  3. ^ Pandey A, Yarzábal LA (January 2019). "Bioprospecting cold-adapted plant growth promoting microorganisms from mountain environments". Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 103 (2): 643–657. doi:10.1007/s00253-018-9515-2. PMID 30465306. S2CID 53720063.
  4. ^ a b c Beattie AJ, Hay M, Magnusson B, de Nys R, Smeathers J, Vincent JF (May 2011). "Ecology and bioprospecting". Austral Ecology. 36 (3): 341–356. doi:10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02170.x. PMC 3380369. PMID 22737038.
  5. ^ Mazarrasa I, Olsen YS, Mayol E, Marbà N, Duarte CM (October 2014). "Global unbalance in seaweed production, research effort and biotechnology markets". Biotechnology Advances. 32 (5): 1028–36. doi:10.1016/j.biotechadv.2014.05.002. PMID 24858315.
  6. ^ Pascoal F, Magalhães C, Costa R (February 2020). "The link between the ecology of the prokaryotic rare biosphere and its biotechnological potential". Frontiers in Microbiology. 11: Article 231. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2020.00231. PMC 7042395. PMID 32140148.
  7. ^ a b Abida H, Ruchaud S, Rios L, Humeau A, Probert I, De Vargas C, Bach S, Bowler C (November 2013). "Bioprospecting marine plankton". Marine Drugs. 11 (11): 4594–4611. doi:10.3390/md11114594. PMC 3853748. PMID 24240981.
  8. ^ Gupta PL, Rajput M, Oza T, Trivedi U, Sanghvi G (August 2019). "Eminence of microbial products in cosmetic industry". Natural Products and Bioprospecting. 9 (4): 267–278. doi:10.1007/s13659-019-0215-0. PMC 6646485. PMID 31214881.
  9. ^ Upadhyay P, Shrivastava R, Agrawal PK (June 2016). "Bioprospecting and biotechnological applications of fungal laccase". 3 Biotech. 6 (1): Article 15. doi:10.1007/s13205-015-0316-3. PMC 4703590. PMID 28330085.
  10. ^ a b c d e Cushnie TP, Cushnie B, Echeverría J, Fowsantear W, Thammawat S, Dodgson JL, Law S, Clow SM (June 2020). "Bioprospecting for antibacterial drugs: a multidisciplinary perspective on natural product source material, bioassay selection and avoidable pitfalls". Pharmaceutical Research. 37 (7): Article 125. doi:10.1007/s11095-020-02849-1. PMID 32529587. S2CID 219590658.
  11. ^ Newman DJ, Cragg GM (March 2016). "Natural products as sources of new drugs from 1981 to 2014". Journal of Natural Products. 79 (3): 629–661. doi:10.1021/acs.jnatprod.5b01055. PMID 26852623.
  12. ^ a b Cluis C (2013). "Bioprospecting: a new western blockbuster, after the gold rush, the gene rush". The Science Creative Quarterly. No. 8. The Science Creative Quarterly (University of British Columbia). Archived from the original on 2014-04-30. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
  13. ^ Svenson J (May 2012). "MabCent: Arctic marine bioprospecting in Norway". Phytochemistry Reviews. 12 (3): 567–578. doi:10.1007/s11101-012-9239-3. PMC 3777186. PMID 24078803.
  14. ^ Cite error: The named reference pmid33643258 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  15. ^ Saslis-Lagoudakis CH, Savolainen V, Williamson EM, Forest F, Wagstaff SJ, Baral SR, Watson MF, Pendry CA, Hawkins JA (September 2012). "Phylogenies reveal predictive power of traditional medicine in bioprospecting". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109 (39): 15835–40. Bibcode:2012PNAS..10915835S. doi:10.1073/pnas.1202242109. PMC 3465383. PMID 22984175.
  16. ^ Baana K, Angwech H, Malinga GM (May 2018). "Ethnobotanical survey of plants used as repellents against housefly, Musca domestica L. (Diptera: Muscidae) in Budondo Subcounty, Jinja District, Uganda". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 14 (1): Article 35. doi:10.1186/s13002-018-0235-6. PMC 5946462. PMID 29747673.
  17. ^ "Biopiracy". Merriam-Webster. 2020. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  18. ^ Benson E (February 2012). "Endangered science: the regulation of research by the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection and Endangered Species Acts". Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences. 42 (1): 30–61. doi:10.1525/hsns.2012.42.1.30. PMID 27652415.

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