Covering: 1987 to 2013
Natural products and related structures are essential sources of new pharmaceuticals, because of the immense variety of functionally relevant secondary metabolites of microbial and plant species. Furthermore, the development of powerful analytical tools based upon genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, bioinformatics and other 21st century technologies are greatly expediting identification and characterization of these natural products. Here we discuss the synergistic and reciprocal benefits of linking these 'omics technologies with robust ethnobotanical and ethnomedical studies of traditional medicines, to provide critically needed improved medicines and treatments that are inexpensive, accessible, safe and reliable. However, careless application of modern technologies can challenge traditional knowledge and biodiversity that are the foundation of traditional medicines. To address such challenges while fulfilling the need for improved (and new) medicines, we encourage the development of Regional Centres of 'omics Technologies functionally linked with Regional Centres of Genetic Resources, especially in regions of the world where use of traditional medicines is prevalent and essential for health.
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