Genetic resources are plants, animals or micro-organisms that are researched to identify their beneficial properties. These may then be used to increase scientific knowledge or develop commercial products. Digital sequence information (DSI) refers to the digital representation of genetic resources, such as DNA or amino acid sequences. The use of and access to genetic resources is governed by the Nagoya Protocol, under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). However, there is no agreement on the inclusion of DSI under the Protocol.
I was an expert advisor to ICF, along with the University of Strathclyde, to support the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in a study that brought together evidence to inform future CBD negotiations on DSI.
The study was based on a rapid literature review and consultation with UK stakeholders to identify potential approaches to benefit-sharing and their benefits and drawbacks.