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Biopiracy

BIOPIRACY

Appeared in Chemical Weekly (15th Sept. 1998) 

Abstract –

Thai Jasmin rice, Indian Basmati rice, Indian chickpea seeds, Thaumatin from Western Africa, coloured cotton from South America, neem from India and there are several such examples of biopiracy that has raised anger and led to protests by the biorich countries against the practices of USA and other European countries. These biopoor western countries are looting genetic resources of – third world poor countries and patenting the products or using prior knowledge which existed as a ‘prior art’ in the respective countries. The genetic resources have been maintained and taken care of by the farmers and cultivators of third world poor countries for centuries and their use existed as ‘prior art’. Gene banks and botanical gardens have become the routes of biopiracy. Patent laws have shortfalls. It has raised doubts about the effectiveness of the system that is supposed to protect the world’s plant genes from piracy. The two agencies responsible for looking after the world’s agricultural resources, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in Washington DC, have launched urgent investigations and will report to a meeting of 150 governments . Protection of biodiversity, rightful financial compensation to country of origin of genetic resources, legal provisions, measures to be taken by developing countries to protect their interests are some of the issues that are discussed in the following article.

Biopiracy and Biodiversity –

Genetic diversity is the key to life on this planet. Biodiversity on earth is necessary for survival of humanity. The conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources is vital to improving agricultural productivity and sustainaibility. Organisms evolve by natural selection and variation exists within a population. Loss of this variation leads to the inevitable extinction of species unable to evolve adaptations to the environment. This process has occurred countless number of times on this earth. However the rate of extinction has increased by our interference in natural processes. Push for productivity kills off world’s hardiest breeds of farm animals.

A biodiversity programme has been created recently in USA to encourage the development of new drugs from natural products. The effort called the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups Programme is sponsored by US agency for International Development, NSF and NIH. The agencies will award grants for consortia of universities, non-profit institutions and industry to inventory, collect and carry out research on plants and organisms from endangered ecosystems such as rainforests, coral reefs and deserts. The goals are to isolate compounds with potential pharmaceutical value while enhancing biodiversity and conservation of native species. The first year funding for the effort is 1.5 billion dollars.

Although 90% of the earth’s existing biological diversity is located in Africa, Asia and South America, indigenous communities that have developed and nurtured such diversity are not acknowledged. They are also not compensated – for the material and local knowledge that is taken from them. Scientists and environmentalists fear foreign biotechnical supremacy might lead to a ravaging of India’s biodiversity.

The manipulation of living material to create new types of medicines and agricultural products is currently worth $2 billion a year in the United States. Estimates are that biotech profits will soar to $50 billion by the year 2000. Most of the “raw material” for this booming industry comes from the world’s dwindling rainforests of the Southern Hemisphere. There is a constant search for precious gene or cell line first, and then to patent the “invention.” When pharmaceuticals or agricultural products finally do make it to market, after a long research of many years and satisfaction of government regulations and safety requirements, companies often see a phenomenal return on their investment.

This process of gene hunting and their exploitation is referred to as “bioprospecting“: Relatively common or inexpensive raw materials are transformed through detailed scientific work and high technology into highly refined commodities and desperately needed medicines. From a different angle if you look it is “biopiracy” and is just another example of how the rich and developed world rips off the poor. Questions about who “owns” the developing world’s biodiversity, and who should profit from its fruits, remain unanswered.

An emergency plan to save the swindling genetic diversity of world’s food crops has been agreed by 150 countries. But developed countries have failed to commit themselves to giving Third world nations any additional funds. The UN Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates that a million varieties of agricultural plants are threatened with extinction because the gene banks in which they are stored are poorly funded. According to FAO a sum of $3 billion is required over next 10 years. FAO conference at Leipzig in 1996 refers to promise made by developed nations, four years back in Earth summit in Rio de Janeiro. USA opposes to give any additional fund and also commercial rights to the farmers of third world for the plants taken from their land.

Nature of biopiracy – Economic implications –

Some developing countries are unhappy about the activities of biotechnology firms from advanced countries. These companies are searching for plants that give improved crop yields or contain substances of pharmaceutical value in a process called as bioprospecting. Complaint is not against making use of these genetic resources for the benefit of mankind but complaint is against such bioprospecting by these firms ‘without permission’, ‘without payment’ and even ‘without acknowledgment’ of the original owners of these resources. There are many disputes and accusations. For example in 1997, attempts by an Australian Government Agency to patent chickpea obtained from an international gene bank, at Hyderabad in India. Also Brazil is fighting to control companies prospecting of useful genetic material in Amazonian rainforests.

Biotech patents spawn biopiracy of genetic resource of third world. The   recent   explosive   growth   in   biotech   patents   in drugs, insecticides  and  agroproducts in  advanced  countries  is based on the genetic resources of third world. Several examples of biopiracy can be cited. Gene banks in the affluent north is another highway for biopiracy. Exports of developing countries  are going to be greatly affected by biopiracy. FAO is well aware  of  the  conflicts. UNEP also  has  a role to  arrive  at  an  agreed protocol  on biosafety.

There is a lot of pressure on pharma and food multinationals to compensate the developing countries for use of plant species. According to the recently agreed biodiversity treaty, a report commissioned by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) claims that by ‘biopiracy’ – the developing countries loose royalty payment for the indigenous use of plant species. This  is cheating developing countries of $5.4 billion / year. The report estimates the value of Third World plant species to the pharma industry alone at more than $30 billion per annum.

The report cites 100 specific examples of major agricultural and drug companies profiting from products derived wholly from plants, fungi or bacteria from developing countries. Included are Bayer’s synthetic aspirin, derived from a traditional Arab medicinal plant and Rhone Poulene Rorer’s new anti-malarial drug Paluther, a semi-synthetic version of Chinese traditional medicinal plant Qiug Hao. Other examples show the unofficial collection methods employed by the multinationals. The report refers to an article in an April 1991 issue of a Monsanto in-house magazine which advertised for vacationing staffers traveling to exotic places to bring back interesting biological samples. It also claims that Ciba Geigy hired local people to collect useful plants in Bombay region.

When the US introduced Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in the Uruguay Round as a new issue, it accused the Third World of ‘piracy’. The estimates provided for royalties lost in agricultural chemicals are US$202 million and US$2,545 million for pharmaceuticals. However, as the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), in Canada has shown, if the contribution of Third World peasants and tribals is taken into account, the roles are dramatically reversed : the US owes US$302 million in royalties for agriculture and $5,097 million for pharmaceuticals to Third World countries, according to these latter estimates. In other words, in these two biological industry sectors alone, the US owes $2.7 billion to the Third World. This debt will not be paid by the US unless we have our biodiversity legislation in place.

Routes of biopiracy / Patenting of plants –

Australian government agencies tried to patent two species of chickpea grown by subsistence farmers in India and Iran. The agencies had borrowed samples of the plants from an international gene bank in Hyderabad, India, where they are kept in trust along with tens of thousands of other seeds so that researchers anywhere can use them.

Vacationing staff and travelers may be used to collect interesting biological specimens from exotic places visited by them.

Botanical gardens provide a loophole to biotech companies in exploiting tropical biodiversity. Botanical gardens in Europe are selling rare tropical plants to US companies for drugs research and development. The western pharmaceutical companies are accustomed to free loading of rich flora of tropical countries. There are 1600 boating gardens in the world growing tens of thousands of species of plants. It seems difficult to stop biopiracy by the route of botanical gardens. The companies however deny the intention and say that because it is difficult to reach the agreements with original countries it is following this route. UN convention on Biological diversity (CBD) at Earth summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, states that companies should share the commercial benefits from plants with the countries where they were found (its rightful owner). But if companies obtain specimens collected by botanical gardens, they are under no obligation to abide by this rule. Thus drug companies  have found an alternate bypass in form of  botanical gardens, which are rich repositories of biodiversity from tropics and semitropics.

The CBD stipulates that the use of botanical garden collections acquired after 1992 must comply with CBD’s requirements for benefit sharing with the country of origin. Collections made prior to 1992 , however, are currently exempt from these rules. And that is precisely the loophole drug companies are exploiting. As per the investigation done by a Canadian NGO, drug companies are by-passing negotiating with tropical countries governments for access to plant species by obtaining them on better terms from botanical gardens in Europe or USA who possess it. (These companies find it convenient than to suffer the rigmarole of negotiating the corrupt politicians of developing countries.)

Many drug majors such as Phytera Pharmaceuticals (USA), Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Glaxo/Welcome, Merck and Shaman (USA) are actively involved in deals with botanical gardens to by-pass the CBD. At present it is very easy for botanical gardens to collect specimens from tropical flora and fauna in the name of research. The cash stripped botanical gardens are opening their treasures to drug majors. The real losers are the developing countries of the tropics in Asia.

Phytera, a four year old biotech company based in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA has signed contracts with 7 botanical gardens – including 2 in UK. Under the contract the gardens provide seeds or tissue from their specimens which Phytera uses to develop cell culture. The company claims that its collection is largest in the world. Scientists responsible for the UN biodiversity convention say that provisions on profit sharing apply to specimens taken from the wild after 29th Dec. 1993. These botanical gardens which sell tropical plants to Phytera get 0.25% royalty if this company develops any commercial product and 2.5% if any other company on further license from Phytera develops any commercial product. But in the whole issue the original country to which the plant belongs, does not get anything.

Biopiracy of Indian plants has continued unabated. India’s vulnerability to the pilfering of plant varieties by foreign firms came to light in 1995 when a US company tried to acquire a patent for the neem plant, which has a wide variety of medicinal uses. Although neem and turmeric are in the discussion, a number of Indian plants like mustard, black pepper, castor and cumin have been patented. A Deharadun-based Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology lists 22 medicinal and agricultural plants the list of which is given in Table-1 that have been patented by a number of countries. There are over 100 plants which have been patented earlier.

America tops the list with maximum number of patents for Indian plants followed by Japan, Canada, France, Germany, and UK. These plants have been traditionally used in our medicinal systems for ages and their properties and beneficial effects on human body are well known. The claims of these countries that the products are novel are, therefore, false and they are robbing India of their valuable rightful heritage.

NIH is patenting four botanical traditional medicine remedies and their use in HIV and tumor therapy. NIH is now trying to sell the rights to its patents so they can be commercialized. NIH and New York University’s patents are included in the list given in Table-2.

Thus there may not be a need to go to India, Himalayas, China, Africa or to North America to get the same useful biological traits once the respective genes are cloned and recombinant products are obtained. Recombinant technology can be used to produce them in our laboratories in large amounts and recombinant proteins are as active as the natural protein.

Measures sought by developing countries – Legal provisions

Brazil has passed a legislation against genetic piracy. Brazil’s Amazon region has wisely passed a law requiring nonBrazilian research groups to take out special licenses to work there and to collaborate with Brazilian scientists. It also seeks to guarantee payments of royalties to native Indian communities in return for their knowledge of plant life. In recent years several European and American companies have been collecting botanicals from Brazil’s Amazon region as well as collecting data on local medicinal system in vogue among native Indian with idea of developing new drugs from botanical resource. This new legislation will enable Brazil’s rain-forest to protect its genetic diversity’s free exploitation by advanced countries.

What can India do on this issue ?

The Neem Campaign was initiated in 1993 to mobilize worldwide support to protect technical knowledge base and resources of bio-rich countries from piracy by bio-poor (western) countries. Thus it is on the grounds of biopiracy that the case of neem and turmeric is important.    

According to Suman Sahai, convener of Gene Campaign, a non government organization (NGO) India so far has not chalked out any strategy to protect its bioresources. Therefore challenging the controversial patents will not be easy for India as each country has its own patent laws and it requires expertise and resources to fight these claims.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) covers all issues ranging from bioresource ownership, community rights of farmers and tribals, and prior informed consent by the seeker accessing bioresources of the country. The Convention on Biological Diversity does allow us mechanisms to frame laws to prevent biopiracy. In particular, Article 8 (j) recognizes that each contracting party shall –

‘… subject to its national legislation, respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovations and practices’.

Following are some of the measures required to be taken up by India:

(1) Implementation of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and its harmonization with Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs);

(2) legislation to first protect our own innovations;

(3) national biodiversity legislation; and

(4) to change US patent laws through pleading with WTO.

Implementation of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and its harmonization with Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) is the only long-term solution to the problem of protecting India’s biological wealth. India is thinking about TRIPs but has given less importance to CBD. In fact CBD would provide adequate protection to its plant species.

We have a legitimate method under our international legal obligations to stop biopiracy and protect our indigenous innovations. We need to evolve legislation to first protect our own innovations. Foreign claims to innovation should be protected after our own systems have been put in place.

It is in India’s interest to implement our national biodiversity legislation before granting EMRs or changing the Indian Patent Act. The determination and will to defend our national interest and our public interest and protect our innovation should be stronger than the determination and will to defend US interest and protect US biopiracy. This is a real test of our freedom and sovereignty.

The phenomenon of biopiracy makes clear that it is not just Indian patent laws that need changing. The US laws also need to be changed to fit into a fair and honest global Intellectual Property Right (IPR) system. The WTO, which has been established to set up a multilateral rule-based system, has a role in ensuring that the inequity and injustice, that biopiracy exhibits is removed from the IPR regimes of all member countries. India needs to make a submission to the WTO to initiate proceedings to change US patent laws to give India adequate protection against biopiracy. This can lead to two possible outcomes. If India gets a ruling in its favor, the world will have solved the problem of piracy of indigenous knowledge of the South. If India’s submission is not accepted, and a panel is not set up to investigate the inherent weaknesses and inadequacies of the US patent system, the bias of the WTO towards the powerful countries will be apparent.

Patents are supposed to satisfy three criteria of: Novelty, Non-obviousness, and Utility. The US needs to revoke all the above-said patents based on Indian indigenous knowledge and ‘prior art’. In addition, the US also needs to change its patent laws which sanction biopiracy by its non-recognition of foreign ‘prior art’.

The WTO dispute ruling is an attempt to put pressure on India to adopt US-style patent laws. However, as the turmeric patent case makes it evident, the US patent system has its own weaknesses which allow biopiracy to be practiced as a rule. The withdrawal of the turmeric patent is only a first step in reversing biopiracy.

The Neem patent became the another case to challenge European and US patents on grounds of biopiracy. Using the turmeric and neem case, India needs to challenge the WTO ruling in the TRIPs dispute initiated by the US. The Ruling states that India has “failed to implement a mechanism for preserving novelty and priority”. However, when ‘novelty’ itself is under question as in the case of turmeric, neem and countless other cases of biopiracy, ‘preserving novelty’ by introducing US like patent laws in India amounts to perpetuating Biopiracy. There are strong grounds for challenging the WTO decision. India should not let this opportunity pass. Most patents based on indigenous knowledge appropriation violate the criteria of novelty combined with non-obviousness because they range from direct piracy to minor tinkering which involves obvious steps to anyone trained in the techniques and disciplines involved.

Patents on Neem, Amla, Jar Amla, Anar, Salai, Dudhi, Gulmendhi, Bagbherenda, Karela, Rangoon-ki-bel, Erand, Vilayeti shisham, Chamkura all need to be revoked.

Following are the measures taken up by India to overcome the problem of biopiracy and exploitation of our genetic wealth by western countries :

(1) Two new patent  laws;      

(2) Biodiversity Conservation  Act  with  tough regulatory  measures  against  the commercial  exploitation of Indian biodiversity;

(3) The Plant Varieties Protection Act, which sets  down the varieties which can be sold or used for research purposes. It would include setting up of a national gene bank,

(4) Country’s top laboratories are working  on ambitious  projects;

(5) The ambitious programme, called Plant-based  Bioactives to develop lead compounds to fight against various diseases;

(6) Major programme   on  collection,  isolation,  structure   elucidation, activity testing and a whole range of things;

(7) To create bio-depositories within  the  country, where these are properly deposited, so that anytime anyone  makes a claim, one can cross-check.

India, which has so far guarded the use and ownership of an estimated 2,300 indigenous plant varieties, recently initiated moves to toughen its intellectual property laws to ensure the country’s vast plant genetic heritage remained its own.

India was bringing two new patent  laws  amid fears of rising “pilferage” of valuable plant varieties from  the country’s biodiversity resources. The Union government would shortly enact the Biodiversity Conservation  Act  with  tough regulatory  measures  against  the commercial  exploitation of Indian biodiversity. The Cabinet  has also  given approval to the Plant Varieties Act, which sets  down the varieties which can be sold or used for research purposes. According to Dr. Mashelkar of CSIR, India, “The  measures  that are being proposed will take care  of  these concerns…there  will be regulatory measures,”

The country’s top laboratories were working  on ambitious  projects  in an attempt to create wealth  out  of  the country’s biodiversity fortune. Dr. Mashelkar reports that, the ambitious programme, called ‘Plant-based  Bioactives’, included  the  identification of several leads  which  come  from plants, so that scientists could create molecules which would  be useful  in  fighting different diseases. Then there is  a  major programme   on  collection,  isolation,  structure   elucidation, activity testing and a whole range of things.

Dr. Mashelkar,  has  charted out radical, market-oriented plans for the  CSIR  to create  wealth  for the country out of what he  describes  as  an “intellectual  stockpile.”  He is credited with  for creating  a  new awareness  of  intellectual property rights and  patents  in  the country  where  slack  patent laws have  often  given  scope  to widespread copyright and patent violations.

According to Dr. Mashelkar – “Apart from  that, we must create bio-depositories within  the  country, where these are properly deposited, so that anytime anyone  makes a claim, one can cross-check”. India lacked in  preparedness  for  what  is described  as a “gene war” in both quantitative  and  qualitative terms.  “In quantitative terms, we lag even behind  China,  where something  like 90,000 patents are filed  a year, whereas in  our case, the number does not exceed even 6,000″.

Most of the patents filed with Indian patent offices are submitted by foreign firms and research agencies. Our own share has been very small so far, but the number is expected to go up.

A new market-savvy agenda is charted that includes the manufacture of medicines from 160 rare herbs for patenting and global marketing. Eighteen  of our laboratories are working together  to  identify 160  potential  plants  we  have  identified  something  like  20 different diseases, as reported by  Dr. Mashelkar, Director-General  of  the Council for Scientific and  Industrial  Research (CSIR).

We need to do a rapid stock-taking of the scale and extent of our biodiversity-based economy which, accounts for two-thirds of our productive economy but has remained invisible due to negligence. We need to show how much the potential loss to India is in the form of both global markets and domestic markets due to biopiracy by countries like the US. We need to go through this exercise to protect our sovereignty and make our rightful claims with trading partners. The exercise of the potential loss due to biopiracy also needs to be done to avoid unnecessary and illegitimate trade action by the US due to the TRIPs dispute ruling.

An experiment of benefit sharing –

While the debate on benefit sharing among those who conserve biodiversity and those who benefit from it continues, an interesting experiment has been initiated at University of California, Davis (UCD) in USA as an answer to compensation issues related to biopiracy’. A cloned gene, “Xa21″ (originally discovered in 1977), (the gene that makes rice resistant to blight – one of the most serious bacterial diseases affecting the crop and potentially the resistance can be transferred to other rice varieties) extracted from a land race of paddy (Oryza longistaminata) taken from the West African region (Mali) has been patented by UCD based on the ‘invention’ by Pamela Ronald, an assistant professor of plant pathology. Ronald has initiated a novel mechanism that pools university, inventor and industry resources to compensate nations for valuable genetic material. It is the first known attempt by a major research university to formally redress perceived inequities related to genetic material property rights. An amount of US$ 150,000 as an advance share of royalty that may come from potential users of the patented gene has been kept in a gene fund at this university. This fund will be used for providing scholarship to students from Mali, the country where the rice came from, as well as other West African countries where it grows, and the Philippines, where much of the breeding work was done to incorporate this gene into cultivated lines.

Fairness of the deal, appropriateness of amount, instrument of benefit sharing i.e. scholarships, or viability of such a measure (voluntary nature) of benefit sharing implied etc. can be debatable. However, more fair, equitable and sustainable ways of benefit sharing, can be found but this initiative deserves credit.

Conclusions –

‘Bioprospecting’ definitely is in the interest of development of mankind but ‘Biopiracy’ can not be tolerated. Technological progress, if does not respect the ‘prior art’ it is pity for the possessors of it. The problem of biopiracy, however, is not difficult to deal with. It is through strong willpower, legal provisions and fights and understanding the importance of protecting these genetic resources that a country can handle the exploitation effectively. However, it is wise actions, and fair dealing  that is expected from developed countries so as to avoid further conflicts.    

 

Table 1 : Biopiracy of Medicinal and Agricultural plants of Indian origin

 

No. Genetic Resource  Prior Art / Use / Application Gainer  in Biopiracy Exploiting Country
       
(1) Neem insecticidal USA
(2) Turmeric wound healing, anticoagulant, blood purifier USA
(3) Mustrad diuretic, assists digestion 14 patents in USA
(4) Black pepper assists digestion USA
(5) Castor laxative, insecticidal 7 patents in USA
(6) Cumin assists digestion USA
(7) Ritha (Sapindus mukorossi) hair cleaning  
(8) Amalatas (Cassia fistula), mild laxative 4 patents in USA
(9) Arand (Ricinus communis) laxative  
(10) harad (Terminalia chebula) laxative /rasayan  
(11) Kumari (Aloe barbadensis antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral 3 patents in USA
(12) Pomegranate (Punica granatum) antidiarrhoeal  
(13) Shallki (Boswellia serrata) anti-arthritic  
(14) Dudhi (Euphorbia hirta) antacid  
(15) Balsam (Impatiens balsamina)    
(16) Rangoon creeper (Quisqualis indica)    
(17) Black night shade (Solanum nigrum) deepan pachan/ appetizer 2 patents in USA
(18) Arjun (Terminalia arjuna) heart tonic  
(19) Jangli (Jatropha curcas) laxative 2 patents in USA
(20) Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) antipyretic, immunostimulant,  
(21) Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) general tonic and increases sperm count  
(22) Karela (Momordica charantia) antidiabetic, wormicidal 2 patents in USA
(23) Vilyeti shisham (Sapium sebiferum) anti-vata  
(24) Chootagokhuru (Tribulus terrestris) antimicrobial activity  
(25) Amla health tonic, cures stomach upset, antidiabetic, antiarthritic 4 patents in USA

  Table 2 : Examples of Biopiracy from Countries other than India

 

No. Genetic Resource Prior Art / Use Looser in biopiracy Country of origin Gainer in biopiracy Exploiting Country Application
           
(1) bitter melon fruit,  seed (Momordica charantia) anti-infection, anti-tumor agent, immun-omodulator China and South East Asia USA Patent No.  5484889 for purified protein.  Patented by NIH and NYU. anti-HIV therapy
(2) Trichosantheskirilowii. for therapy of  ovarian cancer & trophoblastic tumor, against viral infection China Patent for purified protein by NIH and NYU of USA for therapy of  ovarian cancer & trophoblastic tumor, against viral infection
(3) (Carnation) Dianthus caryophyllusis For cuts and infections North America Patent No. 5317009 for purified protein by NIH and NYU of USA.  
(4) Gelonium multiflorum For cuts and infections Himalayan mountains Patent by NIH and NYU of USA  
(5) medicinal plant Qiug Hao   China Rhone Poulene Rorer anti-malerial drug  ‘Paluther’
(6) derived from a traditional Arab medicinal plant   Arab countries Bayer, Germany synthetic aspirin
(7) ‘endod’ discovered  by Dr.Aklilu Lemma   an Ethiopian scientist in  1989 remarkable capacity to  thwart  Schistosomiasis African soapberry plant USA for control of  zebra muscles which cling to hulls of ships
(8) coloured cotton  seeds  of green and blue hues coloured cotton of short staple Andes, South America USA breeding of coloured cotton with long  staple – used in jeans
(9) neem tree extract insecticide Asia W.R.Grace Chemical  company  of  USA. Margoson-o    the   patented insecticide for tea estates
(10) originally  from the  serendipity plant sweetener West Africa. biotech company of USA Thaumatin- 400,000  times sweeter than sugar
(11) jasmin rice for flavour northeastern provinces of Surin and Sisaket of Thailand Texas-based, RiceTech Inc. in USA  
(12) chickpea   India, Iran Agriculture Western Australia & Grains Research and Development Corp. Australia. stronger and taller pods than commercial varieties
(13) Basamati rice aromatic flavour India Patented by Ricetec of USA.  

 

References –

(1) Neem Patent : Favorable Interim Judgment – Vandana Shiva. Reported by Stefanie S.           Rixecker.

(2) Chem. Weekly Oct. 7, 1997.

(3) ‘Seeds of Wrath’ by Rob Edwards in New Scientist, February 14, 1998.

(4) Biopiracy – The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge – Vandana Shiva, Amazon Publishers.

(5) Chemical Weekly, 19 May 1998

(6) Chemical Weekly 31 Dec. 1996  

(7) ‘Biopiracy Vs Gene Fund’ Stefanie S. Rixecker, Honey Bee, 8 (2), 1997, Anil K. Gupta,                      SRISTI,  IIM, Ahemdabad

(8) Battle to protect plant patents after basmati rice ‘hijack’ BY JOHN ZUBRZYCKI in South        China Morning Post February 13, 1998

 (9) India prepares for Gene War with a new market savvy agenda – Nilesh Mishra, India Abroad News Service.

(10) International Oil Working Group, “Biotalk” Volume 4, No. 3, Nov. 8, 1996.

 

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