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Biopiracy accusations are common in the world of biodiversity research. At the end of 2015, a French NGO accused researchers from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) of biopiracy. These researchers had applied for a patent for a natural bioactive molecule against malaria, the Simalikalactone E, isolated from Quassia amara L. (Simaroubaceae) leaves. This biopiracy allegation triggered a huge wave of attacks from the media and social networks, and vehement recrimination from political officials in French Guiana against researchers who have been accused of ethical misconduct, by stealing the traditional knowledge of indigenous people. These accusations were made in the contentious context of the ratification of the Nagoya Protocol in the frame of implementing the French law on biodiversity, nature and landscapes. So, in an atmosphere of heightened emotions it is crucial to understand the issues behind these accusations. We describe herein the genesis of our discovery, present the detractors' arguments, and discuss the consequences of such biopiracy denunciations for scientific research. We also address our concerns about the gap between rhetoric and reality and the real impact of the Nagoya Protocol on biodiversity conservation.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of ethnopharmacology
Aqueous extracts of two tropical ethnobotanicals (Tetrapleura tetraptera and Quassia undulata) improved spatial and non-spatial working memories in scopolamine-induced amnesic rats: Influence of neuronal cholinergic and antioxidant systems.
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A plant genus of the family SIMAROUBACEAE. Members contain quassinoids. Quassia simarouba has been reclassified as SIMAROUBA.
Written or other literary works whose subject matter is related to mental disorders or psychiatry from the lay or practitioner perspective. .
Health as viewed from the perspective that humans and other organisms function as complete, integrated units rather than as aggregates of separate parts.
Interaction between research personnel and research subjects.
An antineoplastic agent used primarily in combination with mechlorethamine, vincristine, and prednisone (the MOPP protocol) in the treatment of Hodgkin's disease.
Tropical Medicine is the study of diseases more commonly found in tropical regions than elsewhere. Examples of these diseases are malaria, yellow fever, Chagas disease, Dengue, Helminths, African trypanosomiasis, Leishmaniasis, Leprosy, Lymphatic filaria...