Indian Society of Genetics & Plant Breeding

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues related to access and use of genetic resources

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Genetic Resources (GR) refer to genetic material of actual
or potential value. Use of GR refers to the process of
researching their beneficial properties and using them to
increase scientific knowledge and understanding, or to
develop commercial products. There is continuous search
for newer resources to meet the future demands that arise
with the emergence of new diseases, abiotic stresses,
climate change, and enhanced demand for food and
nutritional security. GR are exchanged and searched
continuously for specific traits to improve yields and
nutritional value in crops and animal genetic resources.
Every nation is concerned with acquisition of diverse and
superior germplasm for conservation and utilization. The
rapid advancements in the fields of molecular biology,
biotechnology and bioinformatics, led to the emergence of
new legal, political and technological regimes regulating
access to GR. Three international negotiations impacted
the access to GR, these are the Convention on Biological
Diversity (CBD), the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects
of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as part of the
Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization
(WTO) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic
Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). The
regulation regarding access to GR, increasing application
of IPRs and the vast potential of biological wealth yet to be
tapped through bio-prospecting and genetic engineering,
has placed greater demands on nations to adjust to the
changing scenario of GR management. Currently access
to GR is under the provisions of CBD and access to GR is
based on mutually agreed terms (MAT), subject to prior
informed consent (PIC). In response to CBD, India enacted
the Biological Diversity Act (BDA), 2002 and established
the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) in 2003. Access
to PGR from India is therefore regulated by BDA, 2002. The
Nagoya Protocol which entered into force from October
2014 defines the international regime within the framework
of CBD to promote and safeguard the fair and equitable
sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic
resources. The paper discusses these agreements in detail
with reference to access and use of GR.

Keywords: Access, CBD, GR, IPR, MTA, Regulation


Year: 2019
Volume: 79
Issue: 1, Supplement
Article DOI: 10.31742/IJGPB.79S.1.24
Print ISSN: 0019-5200
Online ISSN: 0975-6906



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