An article by Bruce Manheim, published in Nature Biotechnology, considers whether digital sequence information from genetic resources in foreign countries will be subject to the access and benefit-sharing requirements of the Nagoya Protocol and other international agreements. If so, those in the synthetic biology industry may be required to obtain prior informed consent to use genetic information and to share the benefits of research and commercialization with the source country. The article reviews recent efforts of certain nations to govern the use of genetic information.
This December, representatives from 196 nations will come to Mexico for the 13th meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). During this meeting (known as 'COP 13'), the Parties to the CBD will focus on a critically important question surrounding synthetic biology: is the use of digital sequence information from genetic resources in foreign countries subject to the access and benefit-sharing requirements of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits from their Utilization? Resolution of this question may have far-reaching impacts for research and development in this area. And the answer may already be emerging as nations adopt and enforce new laws to govern access to and the use of genetic information. Read the full article