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News

MEPs welcome a recent proposal by European Commission to implement the Nagoya Protocol which aims to protect the rights of countries and local communities that allow their genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge to be used.
Scientists in the United States on Sunday offered a molecular-level explanation for how a Chinese herbal medicine used for more than 2,000 years tackles fever and eases malaria.
A herbal remedy for toothache, used for centuries by a remote Incan tribe in the Amazon is being turned into a commercial treatment for dental pain.
A new anaesthetic gel made from a plant found deep in the Peruvian rainforest could replace the dentist's needle and bring relief to patients with a phobia of jabs, researchers claim.
Millions of cancer patients around the world benefit from a medication called Paclitaxel (Taxol), which may begin to be produced from a new source: fungi found at the summit of Venezuela's flat-topped mountains. But the indigenous communities who have lived in that area since time immemorial will receive no benefits, and were not even consulted on the matter.
At a ceremony held today in New York, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization was opened for signature by Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Addressing the opening ceremony, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all Parties to expedite the early entry into force of this new legal instrument at the service of sustainable development and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
A growing perception that the Chinese public is uneasy about genetically modified (GM) crops has led to a roundtable dialogue on GM crops between scientists and the general public.
Smallholders struggling to grow rice in Mozambique could benefit from a variety that boosts yields nearly six-fold and is less prone to disease.
DAN PEARSON was working in northern Peru two years ago with his stepson Brian Horsely, supplying gear and food to mining companies, when something caught his eye. “We were in a hidden mountain valley of the Marañón River and saw some strange trees with football-size pods growing right out of their trunks,” Mr. Pearson said by telephone last week. “I knew nothing about cacao, but I learned that’s what it was.”
The Brazilian government is stepping up anti-"biopiracy" measures and imposing substantial fines on companies which make use of rare plants or animals without giving adequate compensation to Brazil or its indigenous communities. The move attracts criticism by some who believe that it hampers scientific research.
The development of an obesity drug from a traditional remedy used by Africa's San people has suffered a setback, after a pharmaceutical company abandoned its research — leaving prospects of a commercial product uncertain.
Reversing a longstanding policy, the federal government said on Friday that human and other genes should not be eligible for patents because they are part of nature. The new position could have a huge impact on medicine and on the biotechnology industry. The new position was declared in a friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Department of Justice late Friday in a case involving two human genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer.
The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry will hold hearings on October 19th and 20th on the Intellectual Property Amendment Bill, which aims to strengthen intellectual property rights relating to traditional performances, traditional work, traditional terms of expressions and traditional designs.
Current efforts to protect the world's biodiversity run the risk of doing more harm than good, warns Krystyna Swiderska. In this week's Green Room, she says the role of indigenous and local communities in protecting the planet's genetic resources are being overlooked or even ignored.
The Opposition Division of the European Patent Office (EPO) has today revoked a patent granted to Dr. Willmar Schwabe (Schwabe) in its entirety.
On the 25th and 26th January 2010, the ACB will give evidence at a hearing at the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich, Germany.
Nairobi — Tanzania is planning to move to court to stop the US and Brazilian governments, jointly with two multinational firms, from patenting a sorghum gene isolated from Tanzanian farms.
The Opposition Division of the European Patent Office (EPO) has today revoked a patent granted to Dr. Willmar Schwabe (Schwabe) in its entirety.
The recent patenting of a Thai rice gene will pave the way for overseas firms to obtain copyrights of Thai biological and genetic resources, intellectual property rights experts and farmer advocates warn.
On July 10, 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that U.S. patent 5,894,079 (the “Enola” bean patent), which claims a yellow bean of Mexican origin, is invalid because none of the patent claims meet the criterion of non-obviousness. The case has been closely watched by civil society groups concerned about biopiracy, the patenting of life and the corporate control of food production.
After four days of difficult negotiations among 121 governments at a UN Food and Agricultural Organization Treaty meeting on the use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture held in Tunisia, a Canadian effort to block progress was overturned. At midnight on Thursday, Brazil read an amended resolution on farmers’ rights to a tired plenary, shifting the prevailing tension amongst delegates into relief and enthusiasm.
Companies developing new products through biological discovery or "bioprospecting" are trying to file patents on Antarctic organisms or molecules for items ranging from cosmetics to medicines, putting new strains on the treaty demanding all scientific findings on Antarctica be freely shared.
To prevent foreign companies from patenting indigenous medicine, the Indian government has made 200,000 traditional medicines "public property" — available for anyone to use but no one to sell as a brand.
Rural communities are set to benefit from research firms and the University of Nairobi’s plan to market natural plants. The move is aimed at boosting the living standards of rural communities and preserving the environment.
A new book entitled "Seed Wars: Controversies and Cases on Plant Genetic Resources and Intellectual Property" gives an overview of U.S. and international controversies over intellectual property protections for plant genetic resources (PGRs).
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reversed the controversial patent for a common yellow bean breed.
Even as the debate over safety and essentiality of genetically modified (GM) foods continues, Indian research institutes are trying to genetically modify some high-value medicinal herbs that are an integral part of ayurvedic medicine, a recent report of pro-environment group Greenpeace has said.
NOTE: Some very powerful points here from the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, made at the opening of the High-level Event on the Millennium Development Goals at the U.N. in New York.
Hirsch diz que Brasil se preocupa demais com 'roubo' da biodiversidade e que mundo enfrenta estado de 'bioparanóia'
A report released today by Canadian-based civil society organization, ETC Group, reveals that the world's largest seed and agrochemical corporations are stockpiling hundreds of monopoly patents on genes in plants that the companies will market as crops genetically engineered to withstand environmental stresses associated with climate change - including drought, heat, cold, floods, saline soils, and more. ETC Group's report warns that the promise of so-called "climate-ready" crops will be used to drive farmers and governments onto a proprietary biotech platform.
A handful of the world's largest agricultural biotechnology companies are seeking hundreds of patents on gene-altered crops designed to withstand drought and other environmental stresses, part of a race for dominance in the potentially lucrative market for crops that can handle global warming, according to a report being released today.
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