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close this bookLife Industry: Biodiversity, People and Profits (WWF, 1996)
close this folderAppendices
View the documentAbout the authors
View the documentAcronyms
View the documentGlossary
View the documentOrganizations

About the authors

Janet Bell is a pharmacologist, writer and researcher based in the USA. She writes mainly on food security issues related to biodiversity.

Robert Chambers is a Fellow of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. His books include Rural Development: Putting the Last First (1983) and Challenging the Professions (1993). He works on concepts of poverty and participatory approaches in development.

Marcus Colchester is Director of the World Rainforest Movement and is the author of numerous books and reports on indigenous people and biodiversity.

Alan Goodman is Associate Professor of Biological Anthropy and Dean of the School of Natural Science, Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts. He teaches and writes on the interaction between biology, ideology and political economy.

Mark Johnston is International Projects Co-ordinator for The Body Shop International and co-ordinates all anthropological materials and fieldwork for the company. He previously worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and helped produce the television series Millennium: Tribal Wisdom and the Modern World, a ten-hour documentary series.

Kelly Kennedy is a graduate student of the Harvard Business School and was a 1994 Summer Program Associate for the NRRP.

Jack Kloppenburg is an Associate Professor of Rural Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His current research focuses on the emergent social impacts of biotechnology and on the distinction between 'scientific' and 'local' knowledge. He is author of First the Seed: The Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology, 1492-2000 (Cambridge University Press, 1988) and editor of Seeds and Sovereignty: Use and Control of Plant Genetic Resources (Duke University Press, 1988).

Regine Kollek is a molecular biologist at the Institute of Social Sciences, Hamburg, and co-author of Die ungeklarten Gefahrenpotential der Gentechnologie (1996) and Wissenschaft als Kontext-Kontexte der Wessenschaft ( 1993).

Pat Mooney is an NGO activist who has worked on international environment and development issues related to sustainable agriculture and biodiversity for more than 25 years. He has been the recipient of The Right Livelihood Award and the US' 'Giraffe Award' given to people 'who stick their necks out'.

Christine Noiville is a lecturer in law at the University of Paris. Her doctoral thesis was on the legal protection of marine genetic resources.

Michel Pimbert was formerly Director of WWF-lnternational's biodiversity programme and is currently Director of WWF-Switzerland. He is an agricultural ecologist with extensive experience of participatory approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Vandana Shiva is a physicist, philosopher and feminist, and is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in Dehra Dun, India. She is also the Science and Environmental advisor to the Third World Network.

Christine von Weiszer is a writer and biologist living in Bonn, Germany, where she also presides over a large family. She writes on the implications of technology and economics, and is particularly concerned about the marginalization of the domestic sphere in industrial society and the invasion of life's 'commons' by genetic engineering.

Charles Zerner is Director of the Natural Resources and Rights Program (NRRP) of the Rainforest Alliance in New York. He is a South-east Asia specialist and lawyer with extensive experience in the analysis of community environment relationships to law, culture and conservation.



Bovine Growth Hormone


Bovine Somatotropin


Complex, Diverse and Risk-prone (farming systems)


Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (US)


Centro Internacional pare Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo (Mexico, CGIAR)


community intellectual rights


deoxyribonucleic acid


European Parliament


European Patent Office


European Union


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


Food and Drug Administration (US)


General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade


Global Environment Facility


Germplasm, Information, Funds, Technologies and Systems


genetically manipulated organism


Genetic Resources Action International


gross national product


Healing Forest Conservancy


Human Genome Diversity Project


Human Genome Project (US)


human growth hormone


human T-lymphotropic virus


Human Genome Organization (Europe)


International Agricultural Research Centre


International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (India, CGIAR)


Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (Costa Rica)


intellectual property


intellectual property rights


International Rice Research Institute (Philippines, CGIAR)


Magsasaka at Syentipiko pare sa Pagpapa untad ng Agham Pang-Agnkultura (Farmer-Scientist Partnership for Development)


Member of the European Parliament


North American Free Trade Agreement


National Cancer Institute


non-governmental organization


National Institutes of Health (US)


Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development


Plant Breeders' Rights


polymerase chain reaction


participatory rural appraisal


Rural Advancement Fund International


research and development


Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (negotiating group of GATT)


United Nations


United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (or 'Earth Summit')


United Nations Development Programme (New York)


United Nations Environment Programme (Nairobi)


United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Paris)


International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Geneva)


United States Department of Agriculture


World Health Organization


World Intellectual Property Organization


World Wide Fund for Nature


Accession: a sample of seeds or plants collected for storage in a gene bank.

Allele: alternative versions of a gene. A gene for eye colour may have several alleles, coding for green, brown, grey or blue eyes.

Agenda 21: the plan of action drawn up at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It is a comprehensive set of programmes of action to promote sustainable development into the 21st century. Although nonbinding, Agenda 21 is an important document representing a consensus of the world's governments.

Biodiversity: the diversity of life. The term refers to the millions of lifeforms found on earth, the genetic variation between them and their complex ecological interactions. Biodiversity can also he thought of as a web of relationships between organisms and the- environment which ensure balance and sustainability.

Biome: a major portion of the living environment of a particular region, such as fir forest or grassland, characterized by its distinctive vegetation and maintained by local climatic conditions.

Bioprospecting: the exploration of commercially valuable genetic and biochemical resources.

Biotechnology: any technique that uses living organisms to make or modify a product, to improve plants and animals, or to develop micro-organisms for specific uses. Often (wrongly) used synonymously with 'genetic engineering', hut the term 'biotechnology' covers a much wider spectrum of techniques and processes.

Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH): a naturally occurring growth hormone found in cattle that, amongst other things, increases milk production. It can he produced synthetically using recombinant DNA techniques, inserting the gene into bacteria which act as mini-factories for BGH. The hormone is then harvested, purified and injected into cattle.

Bovine Somatotropin (BST): the scientifically correct term for bovine growth hormone.

Bt toxin: a generic term for a group of toxins produced by the bacterium Bacillus Thuringiensis which are active against a wide range of crop pests. The toxins are sometimes sprayed externally on to plants, but more interest is now going into transplanting the genes' coding for the toxins into the crops themselves.

Chromosome: a long, thread-like chain of genetic material found in cells of most organisms. Chromosomes consist of DNA and protein wound together to form a double helical structure.

Community Intellectual Rights: a suggested form of sui generis intellectual property rights in which communities, rather than individuals, are rewarded for innovation.

Conservation: the management of human use of the biosphere so that it may yield the greatest sustainable benefit to present generations while maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of future generations. Thus conservation is positive, embracing preservation, maintenance, sustainable use, restoration, and enhancement of the natural environment.

Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR): an informal coalition of donors (largely from the North) that funds and promotes R&D into international agricultural research via its organs, the International Agricultural Research Centres (IARCs).

Convention on Biological Diversity: a legally-binding agreement for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Adopted in Nairobi in May 1992, the Convention was opened for signature and signed during the Earth Summit by over 150 countries. By October 1995, it had been ratified by 128 countries and the KU.

Cultivar: a cultivated variety of plant, used interchangeably with 'variety'.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA J.: the molecule found in chromosomes that is the repository of genetic information in almost all organisms. The information coded by DNA determines the structure and function of an organism.

Dwarf genes: the genetic powerhouse of the Green Revolution. These genes produce varieties of crops such as wheat, rice and maize with shorter, stiffer stems, so that the plants can put more energy into the production of grain at the expense of peripheral parts such as stems, leaves, etc.

Ecosystem: a dynamic complex of plant, animal, fungal, and microorganism communities and their associated non-living environment interacting as an ecological unit.

Endemic: restricted to a specific region or locality.

Ex-situ conservation: 'off site' conservation. Keeping components of diversity alive outside of their original habitat or natural environment.

Extension (worker): extension is the process by which insitutional scientific results are brought and transmitted to the farmer. An extension worker is responsible for doing this. They are often government employees, but may work for NGOs or other organizations.

Fauna: all of the animals found in a given area.

Flora: all of the plants found in a given area.

Farmers Rights: a inroad interpretation of intellectual property rights, designed to overcome the shortcomings of other IPR systems which fail to address the inventive process of informal systems.

Gene. the functional unit of heredity usually carried on the chromosome and made up of DNA. A gene codes for a particular protein molecule. A single gene sometimes codes directly for a particular characteristic, but more often a particular trait is the result of the interaction between several genes and the environment.

Gene hank: a facility established for the ex situ conservation of seeds, tissues or reproductive cells of plants or animals.

Gene flow: exchange of genes between different, usually related, populations. Genes commonly flow back and forth amongst plants via transfers of pollen.

Gene pool: the sum total of genes in a population (not an individual) at any one time.

Gene therapy. transplanting genes into individuals for therapeutic purposes. The only medical application of this therapy at present is for cystic fibrosis sufferers.

Genetic determinism. the belief that patterns and differences in an organism's biology and behaviour are largely determined by their genes. Also celled 'hereditarianism'.

Genetic diversity: the variation in the genetic composition of individuals within or among species; the hereditable genetic variation within and among populations.

Genetic engineering: modifying the genetic make-up of living organisms using molecular biology techniques that can transfer genes between widely dissimilar organisms.

Genetic resources: strictly speaking, the physical hereditary material (germplasm) which carries the genetic characteristics of life forms. In the broader sense, genetic resources are the germplasm plus information, funds, technologies and social and environmental systems ( GIFTS) through which germplasm becomes a socioeconomic resource.

Genome: the entire collection of an organisms's hereditary material contained in its genes.

Genomics: the study of the genes and genetics

Genotype: the genetic make-up of an organism.

Germplasm: the genetic material that comprises the physical basis of the inherited qualities of an organism.

Green Revolution: The changes in world agricultural practices which occurred in the 1950s,1960s and 1970s as the result of the introduction of the so-called 'high-yielding' varieties.

Herbicide: a chemical weed-killer.

Hereditarianism: see 'genetic determinism'.

High-yielding variety: a variety that has been bred to produce a high yield of a particular crop. This was achieved with Green Revolution crops largely by the introduction of 'dwarf' genes (see above). Some critics think that 'high-response' variety is a more accurate term, since in the absence of fertilizers and irrigation, they perform worse than traditional varieties.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR): a bag of tools designed to protect people's knowledge. They are designed to promote and protect innovation by allowing the 'owner' of the knowledge to have a monopoly over his or her invention for a designated period of time, during which no one else may use the invention except on payment of a royalty to the owner.

In situ conservation: 'on-site' conservation: the conservation of biodiversity within the natural environment.

Jumping gene: a mobile section of DNA that can 'jump' from one gene to another, thus serving as an agent of change. Also called a 'transposon'.

Landrace: a variety developed over many plant generations, sometimes encompassing thousands of years, by farmers selecting plants with desired characteristics. Landraces are usually more genetically diverse than modern farm varieties and are often adapted to specific local environments. Sometimes called 'peasant varieties' or 'primitive cultivars', they are looked down on by industrial agriculture, but are very valuable because of their diversity, survival qualities, adaptability and other characteristics.

Licence: a type of contract between an owner of intellectual property and another allowing the latter to use, manufacture or market the invention in exchange for a royalty.

Micro-organism: single-celled organism, often used as a vehicle, or minifactory for the production of genetically engineered products, such as the sweetener thaumatin; or enzymes used in cheese making, which can be harvested from bacteria.

Miracle seeds. the so-called high-yielding varieties of the Green Revolution.

Non-governmental Organization (NGO): a non-profit group or association organized outside of political structures to realize particular social objectives (such as environmental protection) or to serve particular constituencies (such as indigenous people). NGOs range from small groups within a particular community to national or international organizations.

Natural selection: the process by which the interaction between organisms and the environment leads to a differential rate of reproduction among genetic types in a population. As a result, some genes increase in frequency in a population, while others decline. Natural selection is one of the driving forces of evolution.

Neem: the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) has been used widely (particularly in Asia) for a variety of purposes: the leaves are used as a pesticide, its oil is used in candles, soap and a contraceptive, etc. Neem derivatives are now being patented and marketed by two US companies, and Southern fanners are outraged that their contribution to commercial neem's intellectual property is not being recognized.

Paradigm: a mutually-reinforcing pattern of concepts, values, beliefs, methods and behaviours.

Patent a legal mechanism offering a temporary monopoly of rights which is awarded to an individual in respect of innovative processes or products that they have created.

Phenotype: the outward appearance, or physical and physiological characteristics, of an organism.

Plant Breeders Rights (PBR): monopoly rights awarded to plant breeders and farmers. These differ from patents in that the monopoly is granted only for marketing a specific variety, not over ownership of the germplasm.

Polymorphism. the co-existence of two or more distinct forms of individuals bearing the same genes in a population.

Population: in genetics, a group of individuals which share a common genepool and can interbreed. Traditional planting materials used by fanners are usually referred to as populations because they are heterogeneous, as opposed to the pure lines produced by research centres or industry.

Prior informed consent: an agreement obtained following full disclosure of all relevant facts.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR): a technique that has revolutionized molecular biology. PCR is a technique for amplifying DNA in the laboratory. Copies of DNA can be made from very small samples, even individual cells.

Public domain: everything that is known in the world that is not protected as intellectual property.

Racism. the belief in the superiority of certain races over others, combined with the power to act on that belief.

Racialism: the belief that humans are divisible into a finite number of types (races) and that individual biology and behaviour are explicable by race. Also called Scientific Racism.

Reductionism: the dominant approach to scientific method, which reduces organisms, and life itself, to their mechanistic parts and disregards the interconnections and dynamism between genes, physiological systems, organisms and their environments. cf. Systems approach.

Royalty: a payment, usually a fixed percentage per performance, broadcast or unit sold, to an intellectual property owner established by contract or other agreement. Royalties may also he payable, subject to a contract stating this, by a drug company to a supplier of biological matter if it contains a biochemical useful in developing a new drug product.

Scientific Racism: see 'Racialism'.

Selection: any process used to sift out certain genotypes rather than others.

Species: a population whose members are able to interbreed freely under natural conditions.

Species diversity: the variety and frequency of different species.

Sui generis legislation: a unique form of intellectual property protection, especially designed to meet certain criteria and needs. Because of its adaptability, sui generis protection is being considered by the Biodiversity Convention as an alternative to the universal blueprint protection that patents offer.

Sustainable development: development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs; improving the quality of human life whilst living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems.

Systems approach: looks at living organisms and living systems as interconnected and co-dependent entities, rather than as isolated, selfcontained units. cf. Reductionism.

Trait: genetic predisposition for a physical characteristic, such as eye colour, pest resistance or drought tolerance.

Transposon: see 'jumping gene'.

Transgene: a gene transplanted from a dissimilar organism, or an artificially constructed gene introduced into an organism.

Transgenic organism: one that has been genetically engineered or that is the offspring of other transgenic organisms. Typically, a transgenic plant contains genetic material from at least one unrelated organism.

Variety: A group of plants within a species which share common characteristics. Usually refers to plants which have been selected by breeders to be distinct, uniform and stable.

Virus: the smallest known type of organism. Viruses cannot exist in isolation - they must first infect a living cell and usurp its synthetic and reproductive facilities. It generally causes disease in host organisms.


European Campaign Against rBST
115 rue Stevin, B-1040 Brussels,
Tel +322 230 0776 Fax: +322 230 0348

The Greens in the European
Contact: Linda Bullard
Tel/fax +322 284 2026
e-mail [email protected]

Genetics Forum
S-11 Worship Street, London EC2A
Tel. +44 171 638 0606 Fax. +44 171
628 0817

Genetic Resources Action
International (GRAIN)
Girona 25, pral., E-08010 Barcelona,
Tel. +34 3 301 1381 Fax: +34 3 310 5952
e-mail: [email protected]

Indigenous Peoples Biodiversity
Network (IBPN)
1 Nicholas Street, Suite 62(). Ottawa, Ontario, KIN 7B7 Canada.
Tel: 1 613 2414500 Fax: +1 613 241 2292
e-mail [email protected]

Intermediate Technology
Development Group
Myson House, Railway Terrace,
Rugby CV21 3HT, UK
Tel: +44 1788 560631 Fax: +44 1788 540270
e-mail [email protected]

Pesticides Action Network (PAN)
North America Regional Center
116 New Montgomery Street #810, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA.
Tel: +1415 5419140 Fax: + 1 415 541 9253
e-mail [email protected]

PAN Europe
c/o The Pesticides Trust, 23 Beehive Place, London SW9 7QR, UK
Tel: +44 171 274 9086 Fax: +44 171 274 9084
e-mail: [email protected]

Contact either of the above for PAN in Asia/Pacific, Latin America, and Africa

Pure Food Campaign.
1130 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20036, USA
Tel +12()2 775 1132. Fax: +1 202 775 0074

Rural Advancement Foundation International
International Office
Suite 504, 71 Bank St., Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5N2, Canada
Tel +1613 567 6880 Fax. +1 613 567 6884
e-mail: [email protected]

Jubilstrasse 60, CH 3000 Berne, Switzerland
Tel +41 313513311 Fax: +41 31 351 2783
e-mail: [email protected]

Third World Network
228 Macalistair Road, Penang 10400,
Malaysia Tel: +60 4 366359 Fax: +60 4 364505
e-mail: [email protected]

Union of Concerned Scientists
1616 P Street, N.W., Washington,
D.C. 20036, USA
Tel. +1 202 332 0900 Fax; +1 202 332 0905

World Sustainable Agriculture
Association (WSAA)
Los Angeles Office
8554 Melrose Avenue, West
Hollywood, CA 90069, USA
Tel: +1 310 657 7202

World Wide Fund for Naturelnternational
Rue du Mont Blanc, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel. +41 22 364 9111 Fax: +41 22 364 4238

14 Chemin de Poussy,
1214 - Vernies,
Geneva, Switzerland
Tel. +41 22 939 39 84
Fax: +41 22 341 27 84