This article from Chief Investigators Brad Sherman and Robert Henry, explores some of the challenges to existing legal schemes developed to regulate plant genetic resources and the need for compromise when developing policy.
Over time, a complex web of international legal agreements has been developed that regulate the access, transfer, and use of plant genetic resources. In doing so, policy makers have struggled to balance conflicting demands including:
· Ensuring that access providers share in the benefits that arise from the use of their genetic resources.
· That users who value-add to genetic resources can protect their innovations via intellectual property.
· That scientists and breeders have ongoing access to genetic resources.
In this article, Professor Sherman and Professor Henry look at some of the options for alternative regulatory schemes and the benefits and pitfalls of those approaches. They identify that a simple, declaratory, and transparent system supported by effective tracking and tracing tools that monitor compliance would be of great value provided secondary compliance measures are also taken up at a large scale. The researchers conclude that the key issue to be decided is what we are willing to compromise, what we want to prioritise, and what are we willing to concede.
These legal frameworks are crucial for protecting the rights of all parties and will shape plant science in the future. Through important research like this, the Centre for Plant Success will help to facilitate scientists to play a role in these discussions and contribute to the development of valuable and equitable approaches.
READ THE ARTICLE:
Sherman, B. and Henry, R.J. (2021), Access to biodiversity for food production: Reconciling open access digital sequence information with access and benefit sharing. Molecular Plant. doi: 10.1016/j.molp.2021.03.005.