Agricultural Scientists concern over smuggling of genetic materials

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Umiam (Meghalaya), Nov 23 (UNI) Agricultural Scientists have raised concerns over the smuggling of genetic materials from the rich biodiversity of North-Eastern states, even as they urged the state government's in region to create awareness against the danger of bio-piracy.

'' Everybody is trying to exploit genetic materials found in plants, animals, micro-organisms and make money out of this, but very little benefit goes to the communities, which protect and preserve them,'' Vice Chancellor of Central Agricultural University of Manipur, Dr SN Puri told UNI here.

Echoing him, Director of Indian Council of Agriculture Research (North Eastern Hills), Dr SV Ngachan said, Scientists must ensure that the country's biological knowledge wealth is protected in a way that the tribal communities, which have developed such knowledge, can have access to and benefit from them.

Indian scientists involved in microbial studies believe that the country's biodiversity-rich northeast region deserves special attention as the area is a store house of rare genetic resources, including countless microorganisms, which are central to all bio-technological research worldwide.

Highlighting the importance of microbial research and its proper documentation and protection through patenting and geographic indication processes, the Agricultural Scientists urged to explore this less studied body of indigenous knowledge, which could provide clues to many scientific inquiries.

Stating that Agricultural Scientists are turning to microbial research for finding solutions to India's increasing farming problems, Dr Puri said the indigenous communities in the region have vast knowledge of plants and medicinal herbs, which is used for farming, food and healing.

'' There may not be any disease for which there is no indigenous method of treating it,'' he said.

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