Sunday, May 07, 2006

Scientists performing science!

Here's a nonstory if I've ever seen one.
Biotechnology companies are profiting from living resources found in the deep ocean without laws to ensure their actions are sustainable and fair, says an Australian environmental lawyer.
...
He says there are 37 patents, filed in Europe and the US, on derivatives of deep-sea organisms.

There are cosmetics on sale derived from microbes that survive in extreme environments found deep below the surface of the ocean, says Leary, and enzymes from the same source are used in industrial processes and research.

A French government agency is currently testing a bone-healing drug also made from these extremophiles, he says.

And there is research into developing artificial blood from the haemoglobin of tubeworms found around deep-sea hydrothermal vents.

There is also research on chemicals from corals on deep-sea mounts, says Leary.
The genetic resources of the deep sea are being plundered! Even worse, they're being used to develop life-saving drugs! One lawyer is concerned about scientists learning from the world around them!

I can see the concern - these are probably fragile ecosystems that don't need robots tromping around in them. Still, these technologies are obviously not actually being harvested from the sea floor, but the genetic instructions being used to recreate the useful enzymes and proteins. Create a commission to put some regulations in place, and the problem is solved. Next issue, please.

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