Ignorant of the New World, Europeans believed in El Dorado, a hidden city of immense wealth in gold. Many consider the Amazonian forest to be a medicinal treasure chest and potentially the largest drug dispensary in the world. Yet, the quest to obtain drugs from indigenous tropical plants remains elusive. Here, we assess the potential of new technologies to tap into the metabolic diversity of tropical plants. We also consider how regulations affect access to plant resources. We conclude that, although the road to this medicinal El Dorado may be long and arduous, many other smaller but still valuable finds are hidden along the way.
Trends in Biotechnology – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2016
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