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Laws established following the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to control bioprospecting are hampering conservation science in biodiversity-rich countries.

By restricting all biodiversity-related research — not just that with a commercial angle — conservation science suffers, argues Rohan Pethiyagoda in this letter to Nature. He cites the US$200 charged under India's Biological Diversity Act for applications for government approval to access biological resources as being prohibitively expensive for taxonomists.

The International Union of Biological Sciences has resolved to promote activities that enhance scientific input to the CBD process. But for biologists in developing countries, it remains to be seen whether the CBD's negative side effects outweigh its benefits.

Link to full letter in Nature

Reference: Nature 429, 129 (2004)