Interview: Bio-pirate or saviour of native knowledge?
Indigenous people often have extensive knowledge of the medicinal properties of native plants – knowledge that pharmaceutical companies are keen to exploit. Human rights advocates are fighting to protect indigenous intellectual property, and in April developing countries pledged new steps to banish “biopirates” – outsiders who steal the natives’ medicinal knowledge for personal profit. At the centre of an ongoing controversy over biopiracy is the Guyana-born, UK-trained chemist Conrad Gorinsky. Once a darling of environmentalists,