Rosy Periwinkle

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


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 it is pollinated by flies. The plant is popular in western holistic medicine as an appetite suppressant and is being closely studied by pharmaceutical companies.


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 because of its high nutritional content. Teff has become popular in the west as gluten-free diets have become more common. It is a frequent ingredient in gluten-free beer.

Endod Berry

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

What is the best way to ensure Aboriginal-sensitive access and benefit sharing (ABS) of genetic resources?

Our team of researchers has conducted in-depth focus groups across Canada, gathering representatives from Indigenous communities and organizations to discuss how best to protect their interests through access and benefit sharing policies.


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