In Conclusion

The Future

 As well as the continuing search for non-toxic derivatives of epibatidine, and continuing clinical testing for ABT-594 and ABT-894, there are another 160+ species in the poison arrow frog family out in the rainforest. Many of these are under research and their toxins are being tested. Hopes of new drug discovery and a deeper understanding of how our nervous system responds to the toxins drives this amphibious exploration.

Further mysteries are also under investigation, such as how the frogs manage to confine the toxin to it's skin. To discover more on the biosynthesis of the toxins, tracing the path trough the foodchain via arthropods to the plant kingdom is also proving to be a large area of research.

Frogs, greed, and banana plantations

  When Daly first collected frogs in Equador, 2 colonies of the already endangered Epibpedobates tricolor were found. 2 years later, when more frogs were required, one of the colonies had completely disappeared due to habitat destruction. Today, only 6 percent of the rainforest which made up the frog's original habitat remains, and this is decreasing.
Although the population of the frogs is now increasing as they have taken up residence in the coastal banana plantations of Equador, due to their changed diet and surroundings, they are no longer produce the chemical which propelled them to fame and was named in their honour.
We are as yet unsure of the exact source of epibatidine and its precursors, yet the preliminary research into biosynthesis of alkaloids suggests insects and the plants they feed on may be invaluable sources. Thus, without the original flora and fauna, the production and discovery of epibatidine, and the current research John Daly is conducting into arthropod alkaloids would have been impossible.
There are 400 known toxins produced by poison arrow frogs of all different species, and countless undiscovered compounds plants and animals produce. At the current rate of habitat loss, most of these will disappear, and the therapeutic benefits they hold will disappear with them.
The harsh truth is that simply placing a few red and yellow frogs onto an endangered species list falls far short of what is required to save them, and ultimately, ourselves. The story of epibatidine has shown how without their environment, the frogs are useless, and worse, as there is currently no direct need for the frogs, their survival is once more in question if protection is removed. Equador has reaped no profits from the development of ABT-594 ABT-894 or any other drugs developed from their native species, offering incentive for conservation.

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