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Recent Australian Claims to Indian and Iranian Chickpeas Countered by NGOs and ICRISAT

Or, how to "invent" a chickpea without really trying

The Australian seed industry has applied for plant breeder's rights (PBR) on two chickpea varieties taken from ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics) - an internationally-funded public research centre based in Hyderabad, India. If granted, the Australians will give themselves a 20 year monopoly on the Asian chickpeas, which they propose to market in South Asia and the Middle East. Neither variety, however, is new to farmers. In fact, both are ICRISAT accessions originating in farmer's fields in Iran and India. It's blatant biopiracy," explains Farhad Mazhar of Bangladeshi organization UBINIG and the South Asian Network on Food, Ecology, and Culture, "Australia is privatizing seeds that belong to our farmers, and they plan to sell them back to us with their own self-authorized plant monopoly."

Scientific Review Rejects the HGDP

NRC Signals Need For Ethical Strategy to Protect Diversity. HGDP Opponents Vindicated After Five Years of Controversy

A US National Research Council (NRC) report released October 21 has unambiguously rebuffed the controversy-plagued Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP), a project that proposed to collect DNA samples from over 700 groups of people - mostly indigenous communities - from around the world.

US Government Dumps the Hagahai Patent

Official Notice to Coincide with Human Rights Day

After months of indecision and confusing signals, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has finally put an end to its internationally-denounced patent on the human cell line of a Hagahai indigenous person from Papua New Guinea. I hope this is the end of what is arguably the most offensive patent ever issued." says Alejandro Argumedo of the Canada-based Indigenous Peoples' Biodiversity Network (IPBN).

Laws of Life

Another Development and the New Biotechnologies

It is more than a year since the Dag Hammarskjöld Seminar at Bogève and in Geneva. We have tried our best to retain the spirit of those important discussions while updating the information. The pace of technical, political and corporate change makes both the data and the analysis something of a moving target. No doubt we have sometimes missed our mark.

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