Life science research and microbiological diagnostics rely on access to global genetic resources. Culture Collections, as a biological resource, has a role in the supply of genetic resources world-wide in the form of micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses and fungi) and cell lines (human and animal origin).
In 2014, the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilisation entered into force. The protocol is an international agreement which aims to provide greater legal certainty and transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources to ensure that access to these resources is fair and that there is an equitable sharing of benefits arising from use. To date, 100 countries have become Party to the agreement with another 4 countries ratified, but not yet Party. The UK is a Party to the Nagoya Protol and will continue to be so irresepctive of the UK's EU membership status.
Guidance on the Nagoya Protocol for members of the Europe Union (EU) is being produced by the European Commission. Horizontal, cross-sector EU guidance has been published and sector-specific guidance is under development. Many of these guidelines are at the consultation stage; however, guidance relating to Culture Collections and Research Institutes is currently being prepared. Issues under discussion include large scale screening and routine laboratory testing.
To keep up to date with developments visit the ABS Clearing House, to find out how the agreement may affect your work visit the Convention of Biological Diversity website. More information on the regulations can be found on the Regulatory Delivery web pages.
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