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28 U. Haw. L. Rev. 387 (2005-2006)
Biopiracy in Paradise: Fulfilling the Legal Duty to Regulate Bioprospecting in Hawai'i

handle is hein.journals/uhawlr28 and id is 393 raw text is: Biopiracy in Paradise?: Fulfilling the Legal
Duty to Regulate Bioprospecting in Hawai'i
In response to questions regarding a June 2002 bioprospecting agreement
between the University of Hawai'i Marine Bioproducts Engineering Center
(MarBEC) and San Diego-based Diversa Corporation (Diversa),1 which
gave Diversa the exclusive right to discover, harvest, and exploit genes from
environmental samples collected off of Hawai'i's shores in order to develop
commercially marketable products,2 University of Hawai'i (UH) President
for Research James Gaines remarked, [iut's not like they wanted the beak of
an endangered bird or something like that .... We aren't doing sinister
things.3 Although this agreement was not sinister per se and has not lead to
the development of any commercially marketable products,4 it raised many
complicated legal, economic, social, and moral issues, none of which have
been resolved.' While countries and communities around the world have dealt
with bioprospecting for decades, the worldwide wave of bioprospecting has
not yet fully arrived in Hawai'i.
Bioprospecting is defined as the examination of biological resources for
features of commercial value.6 Since the 1950s, worldwide bioprospecting has
' Diversa Will Mine Biodiversity in Hawaii, ENVTL. NEWS SERVICE, June 11, 2002,
available athttp://www.kahea.orglgmo/pdf/diversa-corp-bioprospecting.pdf. Diversa provides
an explanation of its business in its Corporate Overview:
Diversa Corporation is a leader in applying proprietary genomic technologies for the
rapid discovery and optimization of novel products from genes and gene pathways.
Diversa is directing its integrated portfolio of technologies to the discovery, evolution,
and production of commercially valuable molecules with pharmaceutical applications,
such as optimized monoclonal antibodies and orally active drugs, as well as enzymes and
small molecules with agricultural, chemical, and industrial applications.
Diversa Corporation, Corporate Overview, http:llwww.diversa.com/corpinfo/corpover.asp (last
visited Mar. 3, 2005).
2 Howard Dicus, Weird Science: Company Contracts with UHfor Access to Strange DNA,
PAC. Bus. NEWS, June 7, 2002, available at http://pacific.bizjoumals.compacific/stories/
2002/06/10/story6.htnl (internal quotation marks omitted).
3 Nelson Daranciang, House Bill Would Halt UH 'Bioprospecting' of Native Species,
HONOLULU STAR-BULL, Mar. 18, 2004, available at http://starbulletin.com/2004/03/18/news/
4 Telephone Interview with Kevin Kelly, Dir. of Bus. Dev., Ctr. for Marine Microbial
Ecology and Diversity, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, in Honolulu, Haw. (Apr. 27, 2005).
' Id. Kevin Kelly explained that UH often shares material with Diversa and other
companies, but for some reason this particular agreement caught a lot of people's attention. Id.
6 Kristy Hall, Bioprospecting Background Paper: What is Bioprospecting and what are
Our International Commitments? (2003) (unpublished M.A. thesis, The University of Auckland)

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