Working with genetic resources and associated data requires greater attention since the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) came into force in October 2014. Biologists must ensure that they have legal clarity in how they can and cannot use the genetic resources on which they carry out research. Not only must they work within the spirit in the Convention on Biological Diversity (https://www.cbd.int/convention/articles/default.shtml?a=cbd-02) but also they may have regulatory requirements to meet. Although the Nagoya Protocol was negotiated and agreed globally, it is the responsibility of each country that ratifies it to introduce their individual implementing procedures and practices. Many countries in Europe, such as the UK, have chosen not to put access controls in place at this time, but others already have laws enacted providing ABS measures under the Convention on Biological Diversity or specifically to implement the Nagoya Protocol. Access legislation is in place in many countries and information on this can be found at the ABS Clearing House (https://absch.cbd.int/). For example, Brazil, although not a Party to the Nagoya Protocol at the time of writing, has Law 13.123 which entered into force on 17 November 2015, regulated by Decree 8.772 which was published on 11 May 2016. In this case, export of Brazilian genetic resources is not allowed unless the collector is registered in the National System for Genetic Heritage and Associated Traditional Knowledge Management (SisGen). The process entails that a foreign scientist must first of all be registered working with someone in Brazil and have authorization to collect. The enactment of European Union Regulation po. 511/2014 implements Nagoya Protocol elements that govern compliance measures for users and offers the opportunity to demonstrate due diligence in sourcing their organisms by selecting from holdings of ‘registered collections’. The UK has introduced a Statutory Instrument that puts in place enforcement measures within the UK to implement this European Union Regulation; this is regulated by Regulatory Delivery, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategies. Scientific communities, including the private sector, individual institutions and organizations, have begun to design policy and best practices for compliance. Microbiologists and culture collections alike need to be aware of the legislation of the source country of the materials they use and put in place best practices for compliance; such best practice has been drafted by the Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure, and other research communities such as the Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities, the Global Genome Biodiversity Network and the International Organisation for Biological Control have published best practice and/or codes of conduct to ensure legitimate exchange and use of genetic resources.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF) 2015; Code of conduct and best practice for access and benefit-sharing. ABSCH information resource. www.cbd.int/abs/submissions/icnp-3/EU-Taxonomic-practices.pdf
  2. Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF) 2014; Code of conduct and best practices. Exploring and Documenting Diversity in Nature. http://cetaf.org/sites/default/files/final_cetaf_abs_coc.pdf
  3. Global Genome Biodiversity Network (GGBN) 2015; GGBN guidance: best practice for access and benefit-sharing. https://ggi.si.edu/sites/default/files/resources/GGBN%20Guidance%20_Best_Practice_June_2015-Final.pdf
  4. IOBC 2009. Best practices for the use and exchange of biological control genetic resources relevant for food and agriculture IOBC Global Commission on Biological Control and Access and Benefit Sharing. International Organisation for Biological Control of noxious animals and plants (IOBC) recommendations. www.iobc-global.org/download/659CockABSinBiCo2009.pdf
  5. Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) 2016; Elements to facilitate domestic implementation of access and benefit-sharing for different subsectors of genetic resources for food and agriculture. www.fao.org/3/a-i5033e.pdf
  6. Microbial Resources Research Infrastructure (MIRRI) 2016; Best practice manual on access and benefit sharing. www.mirri.org/fileadmin/mirri/media/Dokumente/generalDocs/MIRRI_ABS_Manual_web.pdf

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error