Chapter 40 : The Historical Context of Present Bioprospecting—Four Cases

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Today's bioprospecting, aided by advanced biotechnologies, can be seen as a new phase of this important part of our history. Two factors have changed the open-access situation for bioprospecting. First, patents related to biotechnology inventions and strengthened plant breeders rights imply private ownership and commodification of the genetic resources that have been subject to scientific alteration. Second, and to a large extent a reaction from developing countries on the first change, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) provides an international legal instrument for source countries' national sovereignty over their genetic resources. This chapter looks at some historical cases that illustrate the ways that bioprospecting took place before the CBD, and thus for most of the times in open-access situations. First, two cases such as Busy Lizzie and are emphasized in the presentation of colonial bioprospecting, and thereafter the chapter shows two cases such as periwinkle and Hardangervidda fungus from the period after the Second World War. These cases provide an entrance to the context of the present situation in which new bioprospecting is to be controlled and subject to benefit sharing.

Citation: Svarstad H. 2004. The Historical Context of Present Bioprospecting—Four Cases, p 440-444. In Bull A (ed), Microbial Diversity and Bioprospecting. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817770.ch40
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