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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Creating a Network Against Biopiracy

CURITIBA, Brazil - Two patents granted in the United States between 2000 and 2002 and another for which an application has been filed have put "maca", a high altitude Andean plant that is used by indigenous people in Peru, at the centre of a new battle against biopiracy, which involves the construction of an international network against the misappropriation of traditional knowledge.
 
One of the patented maca-based products claims to raise testosterone levels. But the countries that registered the plant "did not invent a thing," said lawyer Isabel Lape´┐Ża, with the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law. "They merely took advantage of indigenous, campesino knowledge of the plant, which is known as ?natural viagra'," she told IPS.
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