Marine Biodiversity and Gene Patents

Science  25 Mar 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6024, pp. 1521-1522
DOI: 10.1126/science.1200783

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The October 2010 Nagoya conference of the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) saw establishment of the protocol for improved access to genetic resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization (1). This allows effective implementation of provisions in Article 15 of CBD regulating access to genetic resources through mutual agreements between countries of origin of resources and those acquiring them. Yet the principle of sovereign rights of states underlying the CBD does not apply to Marine Genetic Resources (MGRs) in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJs), international waters encompassing 65% of the ocean; thus, no consensus could be reached to include them in this new protocol.