As biotechnology becomes ubiquitous in industry, virtually every commercial sector makes use of genetic resources in some manner. The biotechnology sector uses bacteria to remove unwanted byproducts in the paper and packaging industry; incorporates novel enzymes in the baking industry and uses micro-and other organisms in the human diagnostics industry, valued during 1999 in the US alone at US$2.5 billion (GEN, 1999). Researchers are constantly exploring new uses of genetic resources, such as their potential as starting materials for the
development of fibreglass, brake fluid and other components in the automobile industry (see Box 8.10). The pharmaceutical and agriculture industries have received the lion’s share of attention directed at biodiversity prospecting; but, in fact, they represent just part of a diverse range of commercial activities involving the use of genetic resources.