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IP Rights and Genetic Material in Agriculture and Human Research: Two Forms of Biopiracy?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the application of intellectual property rights to genetic material. It specifically considers the use of such rights in fields of agricultural and human research. The chapter describes how intellectual property over germplasm has been given a global reach through international pressure and the TRIPS agreement, as highlighted by recent legal developments in Indian and Iraq. These shifts underline issues associated with ?biopiracy?, but also include: the vitiation of publicly funded research institutions; monopoly control of the food system by giant agribusiness; loss of biodiversity; ecological risks of genetically engineered seeds, and ultimately loss of autonomy not only for the local farming community but also loss of sovereignty for the developing nation itself. The chapter discusses the human genome project and the human genome diversity project and issues related to the patenting of human genes.

Keywords: agricultural research; biopiracy; genetic material; human genome diversity project; human research; intellectual property rights; TRIPS agreement



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