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Virginia Tech-led group receives third five-year international biodiversity grant

ve been sent to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for further testing. Virginia Tech research scientist Shugeng Cao and chemistry graduate students Russell Williams, of Dibble, Ok. and Eba Adou, of Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), in Kingston's group, have also submitted several compounds isolated from Suriname plants to the NCI, which will evaluate them in a 60-cell line panel. "If they find interesting patterns of activity, we will seek to synthesize analogs," Kingston said.

Meanwhile, the Missouri Botanical Garden has surveyed plants in the Zahamena National Park and created a guide to the ferns and is creating a guide to the woody plants. "This will attract a certain kind of tourists, providing an economic basis for preserving the park and it's biodiversity," says Kingston.

The other partners in the group met with villagers near the collection site and asked them what they needed. "Members of the group built a grain storage facility, which allows farmers to keep their grain until the market is favorable. We also renovated a primary school and provided text books and built a foot bridge over a river that was otherwise impassable in the rainy season." All of the projects were dedicated by the Madagascar Minister of the Environment in 2002. "They were well received, which was helpful when it came time to renew the grant," says Kingston.


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Contact: Susan Trulove
strulove@vt.edu
540-231-5646
Virginia Tech
19-Dec-2003


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