ABSTRACT

Biologists have come to think of genetic material as a form of encoded information (Alberts et al. 1989). In this context, the value of any component of biodiversity is dependent on the degree to which this biological information has been interpreted. As knowledge about a species increases, its genetic and biochemical information is gradually deciphered and becomes available for productive use. But even a newly discovered species or an ecosystem thought to harbor many unknown species has value as a possible source of new discoveries.1