The Truth About Bioprospecting

This discussion topic submitted by Bethany Wise ( bvw13@hotmail.com) at 11:40 am on 3/14/02. Additions were last made on Saturday, May 4, 2002.

The rainforests hold a wealth of undiscovered fauna and flora. These specimens may be the key to new pharmaceutical compounds, which fight difficult or thus far untreatable diseases. Many of these specimens have long been used as healing medicines by the Shamans of the rainforests, and pharmaceutical companies know the Shamans possess such knowledge. Typically, a researcher from the pharmaceutical company is sent into the rainforests, either to seek out these Shamans, or to search for new specimens on their own. This process is what is commonly referred to as bioprospecting. Bioprospecting is very controversial for many reasons. While it may make some positive contributions, it can also be very detrimental. The main benefit of bioprospecting is the potential protection of the rainforests, and yet undiscovered species. Bioprospectors are often from large corporations, with enough funds to buy off potential loggers and farmers, who would otherwise destroy acres of rainforest each day. However the communities which house the rainforests, rarely see any kickbacks from the bioprospecting corporations. Despite legislation created to ensure local profits, many corporations have removed valuable species without contributing any money to the rainforest community. Even the local indigenous tribes and Shamans, who often share ancient remedies, rarely see reimbursement for their knowledge. These issues just scratch the surface of the controversy surrounding bioprospecting, and the rest are just as interesting.

Sources:
(1) Goering, Laurie. "Rain Forests May Offer New Miracle Drugs."
Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 1995.
(2) Locke, Christopher. "Forest pharmers go bioprospecting, looking for new
drugs in rain forests raises ethical questions."
Red Herring, April 1, 2001.
(3) Samath, Feizal. "Biopiracy is Flourishing Thanks to Many Pharmaceutical
Companies." InterPress Service, Dec. 16, 1998.
(4) Kingsley, Danny. "Bioprospecting gets a boost." ABC Science Online.
Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2001.
(5) Sternlof, Kurt. ""Bioprospecting" Could Fuel Economic Incentives For
Biological Conservation." Columbia University News.
Feb. 23, 2000.

For Further Info on this Topic, Check out this WWW Site: http://www.latinsynergy.org/bioprospecting.htm.
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It is 1:55:48 AM on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Last Update: Saturday, May 4, 2002