What is Biopiracy?
Biopiracy is the practice of commercial exploitation of biochemicals or genetic materials which occur naturally. Typically, indigenous people have traditional cognition primarily consisting of biological features and genetic diversity of the natural environment from one generation to another. Few of the traditional knowledge relevant to global survival has the elements listed below:
- Farming or Agriculture.
- Medicinal Plants.
- Varieties of Food crops.
The essential components for the survival of rural and indigenous people include conservation of habitat, species, and biodiversity.
Examples of Biopiracy
- Biopiracy of African super-sweet berries: A plant, Pentadiplandra brazzein found in the west of South Africa. It is a vital source of a protein referred to as Brazzein. People there utilize it as a low-calorie sweetener. It is cognized to be much sweeter than sugar (approximately two thousand times). Recent developments involve isolation of the gene encoding brazzein that has been sequenced and patented in the USA.
- Patenting of Azadirachta indica – Neem: Since ancient times, Neem has proved to be useful in several ways. Indians have shared their knowledge regarding neem across the globe. In the year 1994, U.S. Department of Agriculture and an American company – W.R. Grace received a European patent that included various methods that are used for controlling fungal infections in plants by using a composition extracted from neem.
- Biopiracy of the Enola bean: It was named after the wife of Larry Proctor, who patented it in 1999. Enola bean is a variation of Mexican yellow bean. The sales of this bean were commercialised in North Mexico. Subsequently, the patent-holder sued many importers of the Mexican yellow beans. Thereby, farmers faced an economic crisis. A lawsuit was filed by farmers and the result was in favour of farmers as ruled by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
- The rosy periwinkle: The rosy periwinkle was originally found in Madagascar. Now, it has been introduced to several other tropical countries across the globe. This implements that researchers can obtain knowledge from one nation and plant samples in other nations.
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