ESEP - Vol. 10, No. 1 - Table of contents

Ethics Sci Environ Polit (Print ISSN: 1863-5415; Online ISSN: 1611-8014)
Copyright © 2010 Inter-Research.

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Ethical implications of bioprospecting in polar regions

Idea and Coordination: Stephanie Suhr
Guest Editors: David K. Leary, David W. H. Walton

Interest in the potential of both the Arctic and Antarctica to yield materials for new developments in biotechnology is growing. Bioprospecting in the polar regions—the search for new compounds in organisms that may have industrial or pharmaceutical applications—is emerging as a new issue of particular relevance to scientists, commercial enterprises and policy makers alike. Bioprospecting raises a range of ethical questions globally as well as specifically in the Antarctic and Arctic. In the Antarctic—who has the right to exploit, utilise and benefit from its biodiversity? Is the Antarctic an area of global commons, so that its resources should only be utilised for the benefit of all mankind? Or is it a natural reserve whose resources should never be exploited? In the Arctic, much of which might not be considered as an area of global commons due to national borders and claims of offshore regions, the presence of indigenous communities raises other ethical questions. What are the implications of inappropriate expropriation of traditional indigenous knowledge in the course of bioprospecting? What impacts - in the short and long term - will bioprospecting have on biological research in the polar regions? Do scientists appreciate the politics of bioprospecting, especially in the Antarctic? This theme section of Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics (ESEP) considers the complex ethical issues posed by bioprospecting in the polar regions from a range of perspectives, including those of scientists and commercial interests active in the area, indigenous people, and policy makers and legislators.

Leary DK, Walton DWH
INTRODUCTION: Science for profit. What are the ethical implications of bioprospecting in the Arctic and Antarctica?
ESEP 10:1-4 | Full text in pdf format

Hemmings AD
Does bioprospecting risk moral hazard for science in the Antarctic Treaty System?
ESEP 10:5-12 | Full text in pdf format

Hughes KA, Bridge PD
Potential impacts of Antarctic bioprospecting and associated commercial activities upon Antarctic science and scientists
ESEP 10:13-18 | Full text in pdf format

Jabour J
Biological prospecting: the ethics of exclusive reward from Antarctic activity
ESEP 10:19-29 | Full text in pdf format

Guyomard AI
Ethics and bioprospecting in Antarctica
ESEP 10:31-44 | Full text in pdf format