Digital Sequence Information : an Evidence Review: Final Report

ICF, ICF Consulting Services Ltd and Smith, Elta and Switzer, Stephanie and Morgera, Elisa (2020) Digital Sequence Information : an Evidence Review: Final Report. ICF Consulting Services Limited, London.

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The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adopted in 1992, is an international treaty that recognises the sovereignty of states over their natural resources and includes the authority to determine access to genetic resources. One of the CBD's primary objectives is to ensure 'the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits' derived from the utilisation of genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources. Access to and utilisation of genetic resources is currently covered under the Nagoya Protocol (NP), adopted by the CBD parties in October 2010, and entered into force in 2014. Digital sequence information (DSI) refers to digital representations of certain aspects of genetic resources such as nucleotide or amino acid sequence data, and related information that is downloadable from databases around the world. DSI is regularly used as part of new research without the need for any new access to physical material. Divergent positions on whether DSI should be included in the NP have emerged over the past few years. These issues, including how benefits from DSI may be shared, are being discussed in the context of the CBD. To date, there is no agreement on the most appropriate way forward.