Special Issue "Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources"

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A special issue of Resources (ISSN 2079-9276).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Professor Takayuki Hiraki (Website)

Dean, Department of International Communications School of International Cultural Relations Tokai University, Sapporo 5-1-1-1 Minamisawa, Minami-Ku, Sapporo, 005-8610 Japan
Phone: +81 54 334 0411
Interests: genetic resources; intellectual property rights; traditional knowledge; the knowledge commons; decentralized resource management institutions in Kerala, India

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Genetic resources enhance the potentials of medical science and agricultural biotechnology, encompassing the invention of new medicine for incurable diseases such as cancer and HIV, and the development of transgenic crops. Thus the prospecting for genetic resources, which are essential for the development of new medicine and commercial crops, has gained more interest from the biotechnology-related business circle. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that a man-made gene and its derived compounds are alleged to be patentable because they do not originally derive from nature. In this sense, prospecting for genetic resources provides a good source of wealth to inventors and developers of new products deriving from genetic engineering.
In the meanwhile, increasing attractiveness of genetic engineering triggers the following problems:
・loss of biodiversity as the result of commercialization of genetic resources;
・biosafety at stake especially attributed to the spread of transgenic crops;
・conflict of interests between prospectors and custodians of genetic resources;
・piracy of traditional knowledge collectively owned by indigenous community.
With this background, more researches are presently needed to address the argument on the equitable and sustainable use of genetic resources among all the stakeholders. Therefore, we would like to call for papers to disseminate and share thoughts or findings on the above-stated topic. Papers are selected by a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results in this area. Original research paper or critical reviews are invited.

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Resources is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • genetic resources
  • access and benefit sharing (with regard to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Ngoya Protocol)
  • intellectual property rights
  • the knowledge commons
  • farmers' rights (with regard to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture)
  • biopiracy
  • biosafety (with regard to the Cartagena Protocol)
  • precautionary principle

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle The Multiple Functions and Services of Community Seedbanks
Resources 2014, 3(4), 636-656; doi:10.3390/resources3040636
Received: 16 June 2014 / Revised: 20 October 2014 / Accepted: 13 November 2014 / Published: 25 November 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (233 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although community-level seed-saving initiatives have existed in many countries around the world for about 30 years, they have rarely been the subject of systematic scientific enquiry. Based on a combination of a literature review and field research, we present a novel comprehensive [...] Read more.
Although community-level seed-saving initiatives have existed in many countries around the world for about 30 years, they have rarely been the subject of systematic scientific enquiry. Based on a combination of a literature review and field research, we present a novel comprehensive conceptual framework that focuses on the multiple functions and services provided by community-based seed-saving efforts, in particular community seed banks. This framework is output oriented and complements an input oriented typology of community seed banks presented in 1997. The framework identifies three core functions: conserving genetic resources; enhancing access to and availability of diverse local crops; and ensuring seed and food sovereignty. The framework can be used for analysis of existing seed-saving initiatives and serve as a guide for the establishment of new community seed banks. In addition, it can inform the development or revision of national policies or strategies to support community seed banks. The framework’s utility is illustrated by three case studies of community seed banks in Bangladesh, Guatemala and Nepal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
Open AccessArticle The Nagoya Protocol: Fragmentation or Consolidation?
Resources 2014, 3(1), 135-151; doi:10.3390/resources3010135
Received: 23 December 2013 / Revised: 1 February 2014 / Accepted: 6 February 2014 / Published: 17 February 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (210 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In October, 2010, a protocol on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) of genetic resources was adopted, the so-called Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity. [...] Read more.
In October, 2010, a protocol on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) of genetic resources was adopted, the so-called Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Before the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol, the governance architecture of ABS was already characterized by a multifaceted institutional environment. The use of genetic resources is confronted with many issues (conservation, research and development, intellectual property rights, food security, health issues, climate change) that are governed by different institutions and agreements. The Nagoya Protocol contributes to increased fragmentation. However, the question arises whether this new regulatory framework can help to advance the implementation of the ABS provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This paper attempts to find an answer to that question by following three analytical steps. First, it analyzes the causes of change against the background of theories of institutional change. Second, it aims to assess the typology of the architecture in order to find out if this new set of rules will contribute to a more synergistic, cooperative or conflictive architecture of ABS governance. Third, the paper looks at the problem of “fit” and identifies criteria that can be used to assess the new ABS governance architecture with regard to its effectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
Open AccessArticle The Challenges for Implementing the Nagoya Protocol in a Multi-Level Governance Context: Lessons from the Belgian Case
Resources 2013, 2(4), 555-580; doi:10.3390/resources2040555
Received: 15 June 2013 / Revised: 30 September 2013 / Accepted: 8 October 2013 / Published: 23 October 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (273 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing is the latest protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Its implementation can lead to two fundamentally different processes: a market-oriented self-regulatory approach, which emphasizes the self-regulating capacity of the economic actors involved, or [...] Read more.
The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing is the latest protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Its implementation can lead to two fundamentally different processes: a market-oriented self-regulatory approach, which emphasizes the self-regulating capacity of the economic actors involved, or a normative institutionalist approach, which focuses on the norms and formal rules of institutions that not only support and frame, but also shape and constrain the actions of the players acting within them. This paper analyzes the challenges related to the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in the specific case of Belgium, and evaluates the possibility of moving from a self-regulatory to an institutional approach of implementation, which we argue is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Protocol. This move is analyzed in the specific multi-level governance context characterizing the Nagoya Protocol, which has a natural tendency towards a market-oriented self-regulatory approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
Open AccessArticle Tree Crops, a Permanent Agriculture: Concepts from the Past for a Sustainable Future
Resources 2013, 2(4), 457-488; doi:10.3390/resources2040457
Received: 29 June 2013 / Revised: 26 August 2013 / Accepted: 26 August 2013 / Published: 30 September 2013
PDF Full-text (307 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
J. Russell Smith (1874–1966), a professor of geography at Columbia University, witnessed the devastation of soil erosion during his extensive travels. He first published his landmark text, Tree Crops, A Permanent Agriculture in 1929, in which he described the value of tree [...] Read more.
J. Russell Smith (1874–1966), a professor of geography at Columbia University, witnessed the devastation of soil erosion during his extensive travels. He first published his landmark text, Tree Crops, A Permanent Agriculture in 1929, in which he described the value of tree crops for producing food and animal feed on sloping, marginal, and rocky soils as a sustainable alternative to annual crop agriculture less suited to these lands. A cornerstone of his thesis was using wide germplasm collection and plant breeding to improve this largely underutilized and genetically unexploited group of plants to develop locally adapted, high-yielding cultivars for the many climatic zones of North America. Smith proposed an establishment of “Institutes of Mountain Agriculture” to undertake this work. For a variety of reasons, though, his ideas were not implemented to any great degree. However, our growing population’s increasing demands on natural resources and the associated environmental degradation necessitate that Smith’s ideas be revisited. In this review, his concepts, supported by modern scientific understanding and advances, are discussed and expanded upon to emphasize their largely overlooked potential to enhance world food and energy security and environmental sustainability. The discussion leads us to propose that his “institutes” be established worldwide and with an expanded scope of work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Cattle Breeds: Extinction or Quasi-Extant?
Resources 2013, 2(3), 335-357; doi:10.3390/resources2030335
Received: 13 June 2013 / Revised: 31 July 2013 / Accepted: 10 August 2013 / Published: 27 August 2013
PDF Full-text (279 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Uniquely selected breeds bred over thousands of years of domestication in a wide range of environments have been declared extinct over the last century. Still more breeds are at risk of becoming extinct and the rate continues to accelerate. Assessing the current [...] Read more.
Uniquely selected breeds bred over thousands of years of domestication in a wide range of environments have been declared extinct over the last century. Still more breeds are at risk of becoming extinct and the rate continues to accelerate. Assessing the current status and possible future dynamics of livestock breeds is therefore a critical step in the management of Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR). This study applies a qualitative approach to comprehensively analyze cattle genetic resources in selected countries in order to better understand the risk status of cattle breeds and those that need to be considered extinct and/or quasi-extant. The status of each breed, i.e., not at risk, critical, endangered and extinct, was verified using information available at the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS) web site, as well as cattle statistics (where available) and a breed survey. In most examples, breeds listed as extinct have played important roles in the development of new breeds, and should not be classified as extinct, unless proven otherwise, given that even breeds existing in vivo are developing. Therefore, a new risk status quasi-extant for this category of cattle breeds is suggested. In addition, based on the findings of this study, the concept of breed needs to be questioned as relates to it being a good measure of genetic diversity. Further investigations of the situation of cattle breeds (and other livestock species) in more countries/continents using similar categories are deemed necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
Open AccessArticle How Policies Affect the Use of Plant Genetic Resources: The Experience of the CGIAR
Resources 2013, 2(3), 231-269; doi:10.3390/resources2030231
Received: 5 June 2013 / Revised: 12 July 2013 / Accepted: 18 July 2013 / Published: 19 August 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1169 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is growing recognition that sustainable intensification of agricultural production systems and their successful adaptation to changes in climate will depend upon the improved access to, and use of, genetic diversity. This paper analyzes how the collection, use and distribution of plant [...] Read more.
There is growing recognition that sustainable intensification of agricultural production systems and their successful adaptation to changes in climate will depend upon the improved access to, and use of, genetic diversity. This paper analyzes how the collection, use and distribution of plant genetic resources by the Consortium of International Research Centers of the CGIAR are influenced by international and national policies, treaties and agreements. Some concerns exist among CGIAR scientists about continued access to, and distribution of, plant genetic resources. Study findings point to an increasing influence of international and national policies and legal frameworks on the conservation and use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) by the CGIAR centers and the dissemination of CGIAR-improved germplasm first to partners in agricultural research organizations and then to final users of new plant varieties developed through research partnerships. This situation may, in the longer term, have a serious impact on the utilization of plant genetic diversity to cope with current and predicted challenges to agricultural production and, in particular, climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
Open AccessArticle European Hazelnut and Almond Genetic Resources: Safeguard and Traditional Uses
Resources 2013, 2(3), 204-212; doi:10.3390/resources2030204
Received: 4 June 2013 / Revised: 19 July 2013 / Accepted: 19 July 2013 / Published: 30 July 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (219 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The extensive worldwide interest in plant genetic resources regarding the opportunities offered by their use is clearly described by the objectives set out in both the Convention on Biological Biodiversity (CDB) and the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food [...] Read more.
The extensive worldwide interest in plant genetic resources regarding the opportunities offered by their use is clearly described by the objectives set out in both the Convention on Biological Biodiversity (CDB) and the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA). This article presents the European AGRI GEN RES SAFENUT project, including its methods and results, as an example of a resourceful strategy for reorganizing and sharing hazelnut and almond genetic resources. The project emphasizes how crucial it is to preserve not only genetic resources per se, but also the unique cultural value of the traditional and historical uses of hazelnut and almond genetic resources, which people have conserved and, in some cases, enhanced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
Open AccessArticle Access to and Benefit Sharing of Plant Genetic Resources: Novel Field Experiences to Inform Policy
Resources 2013, 2(2), 96-113; doi:10.3390/resources2020096
Received: 22 April 2013 / Revised: 1 June 2013 / Accepted: 6 June 2013 / Published: 13 June 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (194 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A number of national and international policy processes are underway to allow for the development of sui generis systems to protect local natural and genetic resources and related knowledge about their management, use and maintenance. Despite agreements reached on paper at international [...] Read more.
A number of national and international policy processes are underway to allow for the development of sui generis systems to protect local natural and genetic resources and related knowledge about their management, use and maintenance. Despite agreements reached on paper at international and national levels, such as the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from their use, and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, progress in implementation has been slow and in many countries, painful. Promising examples from the field could stimulate policy debates and inspire implementation processes. Case studies from China, Cuba, Honduras, Jordan, Nepal, Peru and Syria offer examples of novel access and benefit sharing practices of local and indigenous farming communities. The examples are linked to new partnership configurations of multiple stakeholders interested in supporting these communities. The effective and fair implementation of mechanisms supported by appropriate policies and laws will ultimately be the most important assessment factor of the success of any formal access and benefit sharing regime. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Recent Research Progress and Potential Uses of the Amphibian Xenopus as a Biomedical and Immunological Model System
Resources 2013, 2(3), 167-183; doi:10.3390/resources2030167
Received: 27 May 2013 / Revised: 30 June 2013 / Accepted: 6 July 2013 / Published: 18 July 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2897 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The amphibian Xenopus has long been a comparative model system of choice for a number of different biological research areas, including immunology. Specifically, the evolutionary distance between amphibians and mammals, including humans, allows for the study of both species-specific adaptations, as well [...] Read more.
The amphibian Xenopus has long been a comparative model system of choice for a number of different biological research areas, including immunology. Specifically, the evolutionary distance between amphibians and mammals, including humans, allows for the study of both species-specific adaptations, as well as conserved features of the immune system. Furthermore, the Xenopus genus includes species with multiple levels of polyploidy, thereby providing a unique model to study whole genome duplication and its effects thereof on individual genes. To better exploit this amphibian model, the development and innovative applications of novel research tools have been a priority. In this regard, recent advances in adapting the transgenesis approach to Xenopus have allowed for in vivo studies of the impact of loss and gain of function of specific genes at the level of the whole organism, further enhancing the potential uses of Xenopus as an important biomedical model system. This review highlights some of the major uses and applications of the Xenopus model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)
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Open AccessReview Biotechnology and Conservation of Plant Biodiversity
Resources 2013, 2(2), 73-95; doi:10.3390/resources2020073
Received: 19 April 2013 / Revised: 5 May 2013 / Accepted: 8 May 2013 / Published: 4 June 2013
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (261 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Advances in plant biotechnology provide new options for collection, multiplication and short- to long-term conservation of plant biodiversity, using in vitro culture techniques. Significant progress has been made for conserving endangered, rare, crop ornamental, medicinal and forest species, especially for non-orthodox seed [...] Read more.
Advances in plant biotechnology provide new options for collection, multiplication and short- to long-term conservation of plant biodiversity, using in vitro culture techniques. Significant progress has been made for conserving endangered, rare, crop ornamental, medicinal and forest species, especially for non-orthodox seed and vegetatively propagated plants of temperate and tropical origin. Cell and tissue culture techniques ensure the rapid multiplication and production of plant material under aseptic conditions. Medium-term conservation by means of in vitro slow growth storage allows extending subcultures from several months to several years, depending on the species. Cryopreservation (liquid nitrogen, −196 °C) is the only technique ensuring the safe and cost-effective long-term conservation of a wide range of plant species. Cryopreservation of shoot tips is also being applied to eradicate systemic plant pathogens, a process termed cryotherapy. Slow growth storage is routinely used in many laboratories for medium-conservation of numerous plant species. Today, the large-scale, routine application of cryopreservation is still restricted to a limited number of cases. However, the number of plant species for which cryopreservation techniques are established and validated on a large range of genetically diverse accessions is increasing steadily. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equitable and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources)

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