Major changes in scientific, technological, and regulatory domains have fundamentally altered the way collected biological materials are used industrially. New technological artifacts are being created -- cell lines, cryogenically stored tissue samples, biochemical extracts, and even sequenced DNA stored on databases -- each of which contains highly sought after genetic and biochemical information. Able to be cloned, copied, synthesized and engineered, rented, downloaded, viewed, and exchanged, these bio-informational "proxies" may be transacted thousands of times in any given month or year. The result is an extremely lucrative, albeit largely invisible, resource economy in bio-information. But who will benefit from this new trade? Many suppliers of the genetic and biochemical resources from which this information is drawn come from economically vulnerable developing countries. The Biodiversity Convention obliges signatory states to ensure that suppliers of genetic and biochemical resources receive "a just and equitable" share of the profits that accrue from the commercialization of their resources -- but it is not clear that they do.In a groundbreaking work that draws on anthropology, history, philosophy, business, and law, Bronwyn Parry links a firsthand investigation of the operation of the bioprospecting industry to a sophisticated analysis of broader economic, regulatory, and technological transformations: the rise of an information economy, global intellectual property rights and benefit-sharing regimes, and the progressive molecularization of approaches to biological research.
Parry reveals how a failure to monitor this new global trade in bio-information could have potentially disastrous consequences for the suppliers of genetic and biochemical resources -- transforming the complex dynamics of collecting, as well as the politics and practice of biological resource exploitation.
- Publication Date:
- 08 / 09 / 2004
- 152 x 229mm