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Fiber diffraction data have been obtained from Narcissus mosaic virus, a potexvirus from the family Flexiviridae, and soybean mosaic virus (SMV), a potyvirus from the family Potyviridae. Analysis of the data in conjunction with cryo-electron microscopy data allowed us to determine the symmetry of the viruses and to make reconstructions of SMV at 19 Å resolution and of another potexvirus, papaya mosaic virus, at 18 Å resolution. These data include the first well-ordered data ever obtained for the potyviruses and the best-ordered data from the potexviruses, and offer the promise of eventual high resolution structure determinations.
Madagascar's biodiversity is of extremely high international significance, yet comprehensive efforts to assess current knowledge and set priorities have been absent until recently. Beginning in April 1995, a major participatory effort to assess the country's scientific and conservation priorities was undertaken in Madagascar. This process laid important groundwork for the revision of Madagascar's National Environmental Action Plan. The first stage of the process was a scientific priority-setting workshop. Over one hundred experts, organized in thematic groups, reached consensus on biodiversity priorities for the island, based on cross-discipline comparisons. A principal finding of the workshop is that many areas of outstanding biodiversity and research importance are located outside protected areas. Participants also agreed that corridors needed to be created between the high-priority protected areas in order to maintain gene flow and exchange of species. The second stage of the process was a stakeholder consultation which integrated scientific findings, national priorities, local stakeholder views, and donor input. The stakeholder consultation concluded that a collaborative, regional approach was needed to augment site-based conservation activities. Participants also emphasized that institutional strengthening in forestry and parks agencies needed much higher priority. The net result of the process was the adoption of a landscape approach to conservation which integrates regional planning, biodiversity monitoring and institutional strengthening.
Biodiversity – a measure of the wealth of species, ecosystems and ecological processes that make up our living planet –received public prominence as a result of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. The loss of biodiversity, say the authors, is the greatest environmental problem the world faces but the issue has not been given the attention it deserves. With the emergence of the Global Environmental Facility in 1990 came the chance to fund biodiversity conservation on a unprecedented scale and in 1992 the GEF was adopted as the interim funding mechanism for the Convention on Biological Diversity signed at the Earth Summit. Three years after its foundation, the authors of this paper suggest that the GEF has to be reformed radically if it is to become an effective force in conservation. Their conclusions are based on Conservation International's experience with the GEF over the last 3 years in more than 10 countries.
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