chapter  1

Biodiversity, genetic resources and intellectual property

ByCharles Lawson, Kamalesh Adhikari

The new dimension to the certain debates about biodiversity, genetic resources and intellectual property is the growing use of new biological technologies and knowledge systems such as genetics, genomics, synthetic biology and bioinformatics. The basic mechanisms of accessing biodiversity and genetic resources on the one hand, and sharing the benefits accrued from the access and use of these resources on the other hand, can be conveniently and simplistically separated into: the access elements; and the benefit sharing elements. Conceived in the simplistic way there is a virtuous cycle that not only promotes the conservation of valuable biodiversity and genetic resources, but also advances the development of such biodiversity and genetic resources into economically useful production. The incorporation of Traditional Knowledge, Farmers' Rights and genetic sequence data in international agreements consequently raises a challenging new dimension for the governance of intellectual property. The chapter also presents an overview on the key concepts discussed in this book.