Genetic research and Tristan
- "There are already many examples of corporate prospecting for human disease genes. RAFI has highlighted the case of the tiny Island of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic. In 1991 two researchers from the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto visited the island, interested in the high incidence of hereditary asthma in the population. On the last day of their 3rd week visit they took blood samples from 272 of the islandâs 295 inhabitants. It was only a year after they returned to Canada that it was announced that the hospital had a collaboration agreement with Sequana Therapeutics, a biotechnology company which is now analysing the samples to identify the asthma gene. If the gene is found, Sequana will patent it and share the economic benefits with the hospital.
"The HGDP has found indigenous peoplesâ ire, and the ethical issues raised by the undeniable commercial attractiveness of its proposed bank of samples, difficult to cope with..."
More on this general subject, but not directly about Tristan, here: