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  • Expanding the Debate: A Licensing Scheme for Traditional Knowledge?
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    Traditional knowledge (TK) often helps researchers to locate, understand, and usefully apply genetic resources extracted from plants and animals. In some cases, TK provides the basis for cartographic insights and data on a wide range of otherwise inaccessible information. However, one of the sources of disquiet about TK is the perception that it is sometimes taken without permission, or…
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  • Ecuador’s strategy for tackling biopiracy
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    A new report published by the Ecuador government identifies countries that have biopirated Ecuador’s genetic resources. A majority of the identified countries are developed countries. United States, Australia, Germany, Netherlands and South Korea were identified as the top five countries that have applied for the highest number of patents by illegally using genetic resources derived from Ecuador. Considered one of…
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  • Moving beyond existing IP laws: New Victorian law protects traditional knowledge
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    Australia will be the second country in the commonwealth to protect intangible aspects of Aboriginal heritage including songs, dance and stories under new a law that comes in effect on August 1st. The new provisions are amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act in Victoria which put in place a significant fine for exploitation of non-physical aspects of Aboriginal culture…
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What is the best way to ensure Aboriginal-sensitive access and benefit sharing (ABS) of genetic resources?

We are holding a series of focus groups across the country. Representatives from Aboriginal communities and organizations, governments, civil society, and the private sector will gather to discuss how best to protect Aboriginal interests through access and benefit sharing policies.

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Rosy Periwinkle

Catharanthus roseus is a shrubby flower that is native to Madagascar. The plant has been used in traditional medicines. Its root is used in the treatment of leukemia and Hodgkin's lymphoma. Recent patents by pharmaceutical companies, without compensation, have led to accusations of biopiracy.

Hoodia

Called Llhoba by the San people of the Namib desert, this spiny succulent is known for its medicinal properties. Its flowers smell like rotten meat and is pollinated by flies. The plant is popular in western holistic medicine as an appetite suppressant, despite little scientific support.

Teff

Teff, or xaafii in Oromo, is a cereal grain that is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea. Teff is traditionally important in these areas as a food grain with high nutritional content. Teff has become popular in the west as a gluten-free diets have become prevalent. It is a common ingredient in gluten-free beer.

Endod Berry

Commonly called the African soapberry, endod berries are native to Tropical and Southern Africa. It is traditionally used as a soap and shampoo. The berry has a number of genetic uses. It may be effective in controlling schistosomiasis - a parasitic disease.

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