Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monsanto Facing Biopiracy Charges in India

According to an article published this month in the journal Nature Biotechnology, Monsanto is facing biopiracy charges in India.

In an unprecedented decision, India’s National Biodiversity Authority(NBA), a government agency, declared legal action against Monsanto (and their collaborators) for accessing and using local eggplant varieties (known as brinjal) to develop their Bt genetically engineered version1 without prior approval of the competent authorities, which is considered an act of “biopiracy.”

The journal of Nature Biotechnology reported:
“An Indian government agency has agreed to sue the developers of genetically modified (GM) eggplant for violating India’s Biological Diversity Act of 2002. India’s National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) is alleging that the developers of India’s first GM food crop–Jalna-based Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco) partnered with St. Louis–based seed giant Monsanto and several local universities–used local varieties to develop the transgenic crop, but failed to gain the appropriate licenses for field trials. At the same time, activists in Europe are claiming that patents on conventionally bred plants, including a melon found in India, filed by biotech companies violate farmers’ rights to use naturally occurring breeds. Both these pending legal cases could set important precedents for biopiracy in India and Europe.”

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