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Controversy is likely to follow an international consortium of scientists — including researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences — as it embarks on a search for commercially useful microbes in the politically contested areas of Tibet and Inner Mongolia.

The scientists will be searching for previously unknown microorganisms that live in inhospitable environments such as salt lakes and hot springs.

But it is unclear if the two regions will benefit from any discoveries that are made, leading some commentators to urge the European researchers involved in the project to make sure that local people are engaged.

Link to Nature news story

Reference: Nature 420, 109 (2002)