Bioprospecting in Chiapas, Mexico: MAYA ICBG Project:
At what point does Bioprospecting turn into Biopiracy?
The main concern of this case was the decision on whether or not Bioprospecting took from the autonomy of the indigenous Tzeltal and Tzotzil communities.
Two researchers from the University of Georgia, Brent and Elois Ann Berlin, took a high interest in the healing remedies found in the Mayan Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. Many of these healing remedies were presumed to be abundant within the biodiversity that was existent within the place the Tzeltal and Tzotzil communities called home. Backed by many international and American-based agencies including the United States Department of International Agriculture, Brent and Elois started their Bioprospecting mission in 1998. While their intentions were documented as well-meaning, they received much opposition from many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who were concerned about the autonomy of the native communities.