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The Emerging Deep Sea Biotechnology Industry

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Chapter Summary

Preliminary assessment noted that there was lack of information and knowledge surrounding the use of genetic resources from the deep-sea bed. This chapter addresses this knowledge gap by considering the nature and extent of bio-prospecting and product development associated with hydrothermal vents and their genetic resources, as well as considering the interaction of that activity with intellectual property rights. It begins by providing a definition of bioprospecting and then gives an overview of the main areas of research into the biotechnology potential of hydrothermal vent genetic resources. It concludes with an examination of the missing link between the regimes of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) dealing with access and benefit sharing and the international legal regime dealing with patents. A proposal is outlined for an international global commons trust fund to provide for the sustainable management and use of hydrothermal vent ecosystems beyond national jurisdiction and the marine environment.

Keywords: bioprospecting; convention on biological diversity (CBD); deep sea biotechnology; hydrothermal vent genetic resources; intellectual property rights; international law; international legal regime; national jurisdiction; sustainable management



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