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Researchers build new model of bio-exploration
Date:12/11/2007

ee what works in other countries.

The GIBEX model supports the country of exploration in several ways, Lila said. It mines and preserves local knowledge of the medicinal properties of native plants. It trains people to appreciate and study their own natural resources. It builds science infrastructure and it reduces brain drain, giving educated scientists a reason to stay home and explore their own back yards, she said.

These benefits have produced widespread interest in the developing world, and the program is expanding to Africa and South America. Two major conferences on the screens-to-nature model will be held in Tanzania and South Africa in 2008. And in January a delegation from Illinois and Rutgers will train people at the Maquipucuna Reserve, near Quito, Ecuador, to apply the field techniques. (Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, is a U. of I. alumnus, as is the vice president of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito.)

We are having real partnerships with scientists in these countries, Lila said. This way we bring it into the country. We train the country. They stay and they develop their infrastructure there.

The new approach also is being tried in North America, Lila said. An Illinois graduate student, Josh Kellogg, will bring the screens-to-nature techniques to Native American populations in Alaska and North Dakota. This research, the subject of Kelloggs masters thesis, will focus on the anti-diabetic properties of edible plants long used by indigenous people in both states.


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Contact: Diana Yates
diya@uiuc.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  
Source:Eurekalert

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