In DepthBiodiversity

Biologists raise alarm over changes to biopiracy rules

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Science  06 Jul 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6397, pp. 14
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6397.14

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Summary

European scientists are warning that a push to include "digital sequence information" in an international agreement against biopiracy could stifle research, hamper the fight against disease outbreaks, and even jeopardize food safety. Adopted in 2010, the Nagoya Protocol is an international legal framework organizing access to countries' genetic resources and the sharing of benefits that come out of such research. The agreement has usually been applied to physical samples, but a meeting in Egypt in November could extend it to cover digital sequence information, as well. Researchers fear that more red tape will hamper their research, while others argue that the inclusion is necessary to prevent biopiracy.