Evolving Political Issues Affecting International Exchange of Arachis Genetic Resources

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While plant genetic resources continue to be essential for world food security, the exchange of these resources between countries has become increasingly encumbered during recent years. The free and open access to genetic resources that previously was considered the common heritage of mankind has been fundamentally changed by international multilateral agreements that recognize national sovereignty over genetic resources. Since the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1993, many countries have implemented laws regulating access to their genetic resources. The development of legislation in several countries comprising the primary areas of origin and diversity of Arachis makes issues associated with germplasm exchange particularly relevant to investigators working with peanut. This paper describes some recent USDA experiences with obtaining access in Latin American countries harboring peanut genetic resources. Also discussed are implications and prospects for future international germplasm exchange, including aspects of collaborative research and benefit sharing with germplasm donor countries. Within this new political climate, the establishment of mutually beneficial precedents for accessing foreign genetic resources will be crucial for ensuring the continued exchange, conservation, and use of Arachis germplasm in the future.

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Keywords: Convention on Biological Diversity, germplasm, legislation.

How to Cite: Williams, K. & Williams, D. (2001) “Evolving Political Issues Affecting International Exchange of Arachis Genetic Resources”, Peanut Science. 28(2). doi:

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