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Governance of Genetic Resources

A Guide to Navigating the Complex Global Landscape

Catherine Rhodes

Governance of Genetic Resources maps out a landscape of the international governance of genetic resources. It shows what governance efforts currently exist, what is missing, which areas are problematic, and outlines what the international community should be aiming for in regard to its future development and implementation.
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Chapter 2: Resources

Catherine Rhodes


This chapter covers the different types of genetic resources that are of interest in international governance efforts. These are discussed by type and sub-type or cross-cutting type of genetic resource. For each type of resource the need for the resources to be governed internationally is outlined, and the key ways in which they are currently governed are identified. Chapter 3 covers the issues relating to genetic resources that are of particular interest in their international governance. The first genetic resources to become the focus of international cooperative efforts were plant genetic resources (PGRs). They have particular uses for food, feed and certain industrial applications. PGRs, particularly those used in agricultural and industrial crops, have been transferred and exchanged between countries and regions for thousands of years. No country is independent in terms of their PGRs and all have utilized PGRs from many other countries of origin. It is the case, however, that some countries have a more extensive native endowment of PGRs than others, and some are almost entirely dependent on non-native PGRs. This creates some controversy regarding issues of ownership, access and benefit-sharing (ABS), topics which are covered later in Chapter 3.

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