Grant Abstract: Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in PNG

Grant Number: 5U01TW006671-04
Project Title: Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in PNG

Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The overarching goals of this ICBG are to improve human health and well being through an integrated set of programs dedicated to the assessment, conservation, and rational utilization of the flora and fauna of Papua New Guinea (PNG). With more than 34 million hectares of closed tropical forests, PNG ranks 9th among the most forested tropical countries of the world. Understanding of the full range of biological resources resident in PNG is essential for their management and the preservation of species critical to indigenous cultures, and for the development of strategies for sustainable resource use. It is a central hypothesis of this work that effective new therapeutics can be derived from the natural products of PNG flora and fauna. Such therapeutics, either as Western medicines or marketed as traditional phytomedicines, can provide needed revenue to local stakeholders and responsible PNG institutions. This income would provide alterative, non-timber, economic value to PNG forests and reefs and an incentive for the preservation of biological diversity. The participants in this consortium include: 1) the University of Utah, which will participate in anti-TB, anti-HIV, anti-malaria, anticancer, and neurotropic drug discovery with Brigham Young University and the University of Miami, natural products isolation and structure determination, and grant administration; 2) the University of Papua New Guinea, which will participate in plant inventory and collection with the National Forest Research Institute, ethnomedicinal plant collection, extract preparation and screening, natural product economic evaluation, the development of intellectual property rights legislation with PNG BioNET and the Department of Environment and Conservation, outreach and education with the NGO Conservation Melanesia, and marine reef conservation and marine invertebrate inventory with The Nature Conservancy; 3) the Smithsonian Institution, which, with the Natural History Museum, London, will execute analysis of PNG flora and fauna collections that have been exported from PNG, and data repatriation; 4) Wyeth Research will isolate actinomycetes, fungi and additional microbes from unique marine and terrestrial niches, and analyze these microbial cultures, and the plant extracts prepared above, for pharmacologic potential in their disease focus areas.

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