Parachute Researchers and Openness and Biopiracy

Interesting article at NPR’s Goats and Soda by Nurith Aizenman.  It discusses the concept of parachute researchers “Scientists from wealthy nations who swoop in when a puzzling disease breaks out in a developing country

Researchers drop in. They take specimens. And they head home and don’t share. That’s no way to fight an epidemic. Can they do things differently when it comes to Zika?

Source: Scientists Fighting Zika Vow To Stop Parachute Research, Share Discoveries Quickly And Widely : Goats and Soda : NPR

It is of relevance to some of the discussions we have been having on the ICIS project regarding biopiracy and the risks of the commons.  Although I note – I think this article did not quite get into a key aspect of the issue which is that even if researchers share everything there are still possible risks for the countries where samples have been taken.  This may be a major topic for a future ICIS meeting so stay tuned.

 

About Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

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