Kew gardens may commit biopiracy

The Millenium Seed Bank is a cover for Wellcome Pharmaceutical Corporation who are trying to gain access to indigenous medicinal, edible and heat resistant plant varieties, according to the Kenyan scientists

The Royal Botanical Gardens Kew scientists claim that the purpose of the seed bank is the preservation of endangered species, but the Kenyans point out that plants Kew are collecting are not in imminent danger of extinction. “We would expect Kew Gardens to target plants in the areas where human encroachment on such plant threatens their continued existence. The arid lands the Kew scientists are interested in are still intact” explained one.

Roger Smith, head of seed conservation at Kew, in 1996 admitted that “pharmaceutical companies do make requests to us. We provide seeds for bona fide requests. This is based on trust and we believe that those who use this service are honorable. But Kew does not have the resources to police what they do with the seeds.”


“Gene Banking: UK Scientists Accused Of Biopiracy” OTC (COMTEX Newswire) December 13, 1999

“Pharmaceutical Companies Target Biodiversity” OTC October 17, 1996