The Emergence and Growth of Biotechnology
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The Emergence and Growth of Biotechnology

Experiences in Industrialised and Developing Countries

Rohini Acharya

This innovative book examines the development and evolution of biotechnology in industrialised and developing countries.
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Chapter 7: The Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of Biodiversity: The Role of Biotechnology and Bioprospecting

Rohini Acharya


Page 104 7—  The Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of Biodiversity: The Role of Biotechnology and Bioprospecting 7.1—  Introduction As discussed in the previous chapter, biotechnology has the dubious distinction of potentially becoming the source of destruction of biological diversity or its saviour  depending upon the attitude taken by biotechnologists and conservationists. In this chapter we discuss how efforts are underway to try and develop projects to  conserve and utilise the knowledge obtained from biological materials. While there is a need to conserve biological diversity, it is equally clear that we will continue to  utilise it. We owe a large number of products which we have come to regard as essential in our daily lives to the utilisation of biological diversity. The food we eat  today is a product of years of experimenting with certain strains of plants and highly desirable characteristics contained in their wild ancestors. Farmers and  biotechnologists alike still spend an enormous amount of time trying to improve characteristics such as yield, disease and pest resistance, ability to withstand changes in  weather patterns etc. Thus it is clearly in our interest to continue to utilise the benefits of biodiversity. However, efforts should be made to use biological diversity in a  sustainable manner, allowing us to conserve and maintain its important uses for our immediate and future requirements. While some estimates put around 95 per cent of the world's biological diversity in the world's poorest countries 145, the main exploiters and collectors of biodiversity  thus far appear to have...

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