Many important medications have been discovered by bioprospecting including the diabetes drug
(developed from a natural product found in
 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,   aquaculture,   bioremediation,   cosmetics,   nanotechnology,  or  pharmaceutical  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.
plants, fungi and actinobacteria have been the focus of many past bioprospecting programs, 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.    Species may be randomly screened for bioactivity or rationally selected and screened based on  ecological, ethnobiological, ethnomedical, historical or genomic information.  
When a region's biological resources or
indigenous knowledge are unethically appropriated or commercially exploited without providing fair compensation, this is known as biopiracy.  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. 
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. 
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