Over the past three years, the National Science Foundation has joined with the National Institutes of Health and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to create and develop two funding programs for biodiversity projects. Studies supported under these programs focus on the variety among species and ecosystems in developing nations and assess the impact of global change on levels of diversity in those countries.

The International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG) Program, developed by NSF in cooperation with NIH and USAID, funds projects aiming to develop new drugs while at the same time leading to a better understanding of global biodiversity (Scott Veggeberg, The Scientist, Aug. 31, 1992, page 5). Many species from the world's scarce plant supply have the potential to be used as therapeutics; an example that has been receiving much attention is taxol, which is derived from the Pacific yew tree and is used...

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