As the search for wild species whose genes can yield new medicines and better crops gathers speed, these rich habitats also sport more and more specimens of a relatively new breed — the biodiversity prospector. Like the nineteenth-century California gold rush or its present-day counterpart in Brazil, this "gene rush" could wreak havoc on ecosystems and the people living in or near them. Done right, though, bioprospecting can bolster both economic and conservation goals while underpinning the medical and agricultural advanced needed to combat disease and sustain growing human numbers. …Altogether, the essays in 'Biodiversity Prospecting' explore many different strands of thought and theory that come together in this relatively new industry, elaborating on issues only touched on in other publications.
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