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Monday, October 29, 2007

Bioprospecting - Wikipedia

Bioprospecting was a new word for me. Had to go to Wikipedia to learn more about it.

However, bioprospecting may also describe the search for previously unknown compounds in organisms that have never been used in traditional medicine.

Biopiracy is a negative term for the appropriation, generally by means of patents, of legal rights over indigenous biomedical knowledge without compensation to the indigenous groups who originally developed such knowledge.[1] A classic case is that of the Rosy Periwinkle (Madagascar Periwinkle).[2]


Research into the plant was prompted by the plant's traditional medicinal role and resulted in the discovery of a large number of biologically active chemicals, including vincristine, a lucrative agent useful during chemotherapy. Vincristine was initially patented and marketed by Eli Lilly. It is widely reported that the country of origin did not receive any payment.[3]

Biopiracy allegedly contributes to inequality between developing countries rich in biodiversity, and developed countries served by pharmaceutical industry exploiting those resources.

Bioprospecting is a frequent alternative neutral term or euphemism for biopiracy. While there is still no hard definition,[4] media and academia use this term to imply legitimacy when speaking about endeavors to capitalize on tribal knowledge of natural resources.

However, bioprospecting may also describe the search for previously unknown compounds in organisms that have never been used in traditional medicine.

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