June 25, 2018

The American Institute of Biological Sciences has joined with more than 50 other leading scientific organizations from around the world to endorse a statement expressing concerns about the application of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) obligations to Digital Sequence Information (DSI) of genetic resources.

The signatory organizations share a concern about the potentially harmful effect of inappropriate or overly burdensome regulation of genetic resources. The statement cautions that: "Such obligations would place additional hurdles on biological research - with potentially negative consequences for the advancement of science and the huge societal value this generates, as well as for achieving the three objectives of the [Convention on Biological Diversity]."

An excerpt from the statement: "The unencumbered access to and use of DSI now in the public domain benefits countries at all levels of development - it supports conservation, fosters research into technological solutions to tackle societal challenges, and benefits the population as a whole...The rate of scientific advancement and technological development is heavily dependent on unencumbered access to and use of publicly available DSI. Barriers to the sharing and use of DSI would discourage innovation and scientific research. Extensive tracking and tracing mechanisms would be needed - if they were even possible - ultimately making downstream uses more complex and costly, and products and technologies less accessible."

Update: On November 8, an updated version of the statement became available. The statement now has 80 signatories, including the countries of Ethiopia, South Africa, and Korea, and additional industrial sectors and scientific fields, such as flavours, ornithology, and health supplements.

Read the full statement here: https://www.aibs.org/position-statements/resources/Joint_stakeholder_statement_on_DSI.pdf

Read more AIBS Position Statements

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