Genes for sale

Gene thieves are flocking to the Phillipines. In search of human DNA, as well as indigenous plants and animals, corporate scientists have already aquired lucrative patents on a pain-killing snail, a cancer-curing tree and several fruits and vegetables said to remedy diabetes, reports the EARTH TIMES. The Neurex corporation, for example, has brought home $80 million from snail chemical sales. Cromak Research in New Jersey raked in $500 million for an anti-diabetic extracted from two Phillipino vegetables.

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In the Phillipines, laws against such biopiracy are easily skirted, and the nature of the economy encourages the rural poor to trade away indigenous resources for a little money.