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another reason to preserve the environment

ROBERT COELEN robert at arbo.microbiol.uwa.edu.au
Tue Jul 6 11:57:30 EST 1993

There has been a fair bit of news play over the last 24 hours regarding the 
finding of a new compound in a native plant of Western Australia. The plant, 
an as yet undisclosed species of the genus Conospernum (common name smoke 
bush), apparently contains at certain times of the year a fairly toxic 
chemical named conocurvone. Apparently, the synthesis of this compound has not 
been successful. The haggling currently is about royalties for this State. 
Details about the exact species, location and most productive time of the 
year, are kept a secret for fear of desparate AIDS sufferers ravaging the 
country side to get these plants. The local minister for the environment 
predicts a 5 to 10 year lapse before the drug (if indeed it proves to be 
effective in vivo) becomes available. My guess is that if in vivo eperiments 
appear to be successful, that development time will be MUCH less than the 5 to 
10 years suggested.

Apparently more details are in the latest edition of new Scientist (I haven't 
seen it yet). Any comments ?

Kindest regards,

Dr R.J. Coelen                             phone 61 - 9 - 389 3915
Dept of Microbiology                       fax   61 - 9 - 389 2912
University of Western Australia            snail Nedlands, 6009
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