Bioprospecting finds fertile grounds in frozen Arctic

The extreme Arctic climate has given rise to a new era of bioprospecting in the frigid region. The arctic squirrel, for example, can lower its body temperature below freezing--the only mammal known to do so. And that has led researchers to set out and determine if proteins from the animal can be used to repair stroke damage.  There are a total of 31 known patents for Arctic organisms, and fully two thirds of them are held by U.S. companies. Only three Canadian companies have taken up the hunt, though, while tiny Iceland has 10.

"Bioprospecting is not just for the tropical countries," says international attorney David Leary. And Norway has the world's most advanced Arctic marine biotechnology facilities.

- read the report in the Canadian Press