September 2002

Patents on Life
NI (No.349)


9 Eight things you should know about patents on life
The very stuff of life itself is for sale. Dinyar Godrej tells us what we need to know in order to confront the high bidders.

13 The gene hunters
Australian biotech company Autogen dangled a big carrot in front of the people of the tiny Pacific island of Tonga. Lopeti Senituli for one lost his appetite.

15 Rice is life
Corporations want to use patents to make off with Asia's rice bowl. Devlin Kuyek reports on the alternatives.


20 Home-grown healing
A plant that holds out hope for people with AIDS in South Africa remains in the public domain. But that's not where the story ends, as Ferial Haffajee discovers.

22 Conquest by patents
The US leaders in the push for patents. But it wasn't always that way, says Beth Burrows.

24 Pirates ahoy!
Some notorious claims inspected.

26 Barcoding life
Geneticists are playing Russian roulette with life, believes Jordi Pigem.

28 Action

<<Regular Features>>

2 Letters

4 Southern Exposure
Women brick-kiln labourers by Nguyen Huu Tuan (Vietnam)

5 View from the South
Fragments of ancient history recovered, in Eduardo Galeano's Windows series.

6 Currents
Testimony of a North Lorean refugee; GATS & free trade in education; debt no less heavy; fewer terrorist attacks.
PLUS: Word Corner - Divan.
PLUS: Seriously

29 Worldbeaters
Tactically brutal, pragmatically treacherous: Afghan warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum.

30 Mixed Media

32 Big Bad World
Sinister smile: Polyp's latest cartoon.
PLUS: NI Prize Crossword

33 Making waves
Filmmaker Jacquie Soohen talks about her time inside Bethlehem's besieged Church of the Nativity.

34 Essay - The democracy killers
There is little tolerance in Pakistan for alternative ideas, says Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, but squatters can still be a match for general and financiers.

36 Country Profile - Angola

NI-Japan (No.37)


Patents on Life
Patents were supposedly created to protect the inventors of new things so that their invention would not be stolen by others. But what about when a corporation takes out a patent on a traditional herb or medicine, or seeds that have been developed by farmers over generations? Or even human DNA itself? Who is the 'inventor' of life forms such as these? And who benefits from the patents?

<This month's main theme article>

·Translation of "Eight things you should know about patents on life" (p9-12)

·Translation of "Rice is life" (p15-17)

<Reporting from Japan>
Japanese Corporations & Patents on Life

·Data about patents in Japan

by Moro Hideki (New Internationalist Japan)

·Patents on Life & GMO Patents
by Amagasa Keisuke (Director of Citizen's Biotechnology Information Centre)

<Contact Points>
Information of organizations working on biotechnology , GMO rice, seed-saving and exchange and books.

<Country Profile>
-Translation of "Country Profile - Angola" (p36)

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