Mead Gruver, Writer for CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The National Park Service is rolling out a new policy for companies and others who stand to profit from conducting scientific research in national parks. The policy is expected to go into effect early next year following more than a decade of concerns about so-called "bioprospecting" in Yellowstone National Park.
Bioprospecting is the search for organisms that offer possible breakthroughs in medicine and chemistry. A hot spring in Yellowstone called the Mushroom Pool is home to a bacteria species that made DNA testing much faster and more practical. The discovery spawned an industry that's now worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
The new policy will give national parks a slice of the profits from any such future discoveries.