U.N. tackles gene prospecting on the high seas

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  07 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6406, pp. 956-957
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6406.956

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


U.N. negotiators are meeting in New York City this week to begin formal negotiations aimed at creating an international agreement focused on protecting the high seas. A north-south split has developed on the issue of bioprospecting for valuable genes, most of which are from bacteria and other sea life found on the sea floor. Developing countries want to create a pact that declares the open ocean the "common heritage of mankind," and that creates means for countries that do bioprospecting, generally richer, developed countries, to compensate those that do not. But developed nations including the United States, Russia, and Japan oppose that language, fearing burdensome and unworkable regulations.