Ecuador sues U.S. medical institution for selling indigenous DNA

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Telesur / South Radio

The Ecuadorian government demand before an international court to a medical institution for selling U.S. Amazonian indigenous DNA, as the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa.

"In coordination with the Waorani brothers are studying the best ways to bring this international court (...) do not allow this to go unpunished," said Correa.

The Coriell Institute, according to the Government of Ecuador, sold genetic samples from the Waorani tribe's school of Harvard University (USA)

Under the guise of examining the health of some people, two Americans, including a doctor Maxus oil company, took blood samples to several of them between 1990 and 1991. Approximately 3000 Indians were affected by the illicit business.

The Indians claim to understand the value of their genetic material because they are resistant to many diseases. However, Correa believes that unauthorized selling the DNA of the natives is "break any ethics."

For his part, Minister of Heritage Ecuador, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, said a legal committee "is considering what the best way to establish a legal process against the Institute (Coriell) and all institutions" involved.

These entities "attacked the integrity and the right to consultation from the Waorani," said the official.

However, the Coriell Institute denied having profited by selling DNA samples Ecuadorian Waorani tribe.

Coriell also explained that scientists and officials of the institution must sign a form to ensure that the samples are not used for the development of a commercial product, or be redistributed to other researchers.