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Long answer type question Define and explain the term Biopiracy - Biology

Answer in Brief

Long answer type question

Define and explain the term


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Biopiracy is defined as ‘theft of various natural products and then selling them by getting a patent without giving any benefits or compensation back to the host country’.

i. For proper and lawful working of biopatent, the nation should be rich in bio-diversity, people residing there should have traditional knowledge and the nation should also have sufficient financial resources.

ii. However, it is generally observed that industrialized nations are rich in financial resources and technology but lack bio-diversity, whereas developing countries are rich in biodiversity and traditional knowledge but are short of financial resources and advanced technology. These situations lead to biopiracy.

iii. Industrialized nations have always been enjoying immense profits by patenting the indigenous biomedical knowledge and bioresources of third world communities without paying any compensation to the indigenous group who originally developed such knowledge.


i. Texmati case: A strain of Basmati rice was patented by Texas-based company Rice Tec Inc with trade name Texmati. This patenting was illegal and unethical as Basmati is a long-grained, aromatic variety of rice indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. India fought a long legal battle after which the patent was canceled.

ii. Turmeric: Since ancient times, Indians have been using Haldi (Turmeric powder) as an antiseptic for healing wounds for killing pests and medicinal purposes. However, American companies have patented Turmeric and many medicinal plants of India. After a long legal battle, most of the patents have been revoked.

iii. Neem (Azadirachta indica): The patenting of the fungicidal properties of Neem was an example of biopiracy. The USDA and an American MNC W.R. Grace in the early 90s sought a patent from the European Patent Office (EPO) on the “method for controlling on plants by the aid of hydrophobic extracted neem oil.”

Concept: Biopatent and Biopiracy
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Balbharati Biology 12th Standard HSC for Maharashtra State Board
Chapter 12 Biotechnology
Exercise | Q 4.1 | Page 292
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