Nueva publicación de Mariano Novas en la revista «The Polar Journal» sobre patentamiento de recursos biológicos en Antártida.

Mariano Novas ha publicado en «The Polar Journal» el trabajo «Antarctic governance of biological resources: the Argentine White Genome project.» en la sección Special Issue Articles.


The purpose of the Antarctic Treaty is to ensure the peaceful use and demilitarisation of the vast Antarctic continent, as well as the corresponding suspension of territorial claims in the region. Aside from managing relations among individual states, the Treaty also encourages scientific collaboration and requires certain kinds of information exchange with a view to reducing the potential for conflicts. A challenge has arisen, however, since the turn of this century, with the increasing search, collection, study, and possible industrial application of biological resources, called bioprospecting. This has become one of the most debated topics at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings. Although bioprospecting is a scientific activity with peaceful and commercial aims, it nonetheless generates disagreements and controversy among participating states across a range of issues, including the access and ownership of genetic resources, scientific information exchange, environmental impact, and the resulting distribution of monetary benefits among actors. This uncertainty leads to the question: can bioprospecting projects be adapted to the principles of Antarctic governance? This study aims to answer that question through an analysis of the ‘Genoma Blanco’ (White Genome) project supported by the Argentine government some years ago. Argentina’s approach to the project combined adherence to national sovereignty principles and compliance with Antarctic governance requirements, thus constituting a singular case within the context of legal ambiguity in which the Treaty still navigates in relation to bioprospecting activities. On the one hand, Argentina supported policies of transparency, providing information about Genoma Blanco activities and discoveries to other Treaty members. On the other hand, it maintained its principles of sovereignty by asserting ownership over resources found and by using research findings as part of its strategic discourse tools towards legitimising Argentina’s permanence in the sector under its own sovereignty claims.

KEYWORDS: Antarctic Treaty SystemAntarctic governancebiological resourcessovereigntybioprospection

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