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Costa Rica is home to 5 percent of the world’s plant and animal species and is known for having the most biodiversity per land area. The rain forests of Costa Rica once covered 99 percent of the country; however, that area has decreased by over one-half due to deforestation to create farmland. This rapid loss of the rain forest spurred an urgency to pharmacologically survey as many plants and animals as possible in the search for new chemicals that could have medicinal applications. In a study of 165 plant species in 2003 from Monteverde’s high-altitude Cloud Forest, over 60 percent of those samples exhibited bioactivity in one or more of the following areas: antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and cytotoxicity. According to the Natural Products Group at ...

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