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New Rules for Genetic Researchers

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12 October 2014 saw the Nagoya Protocol coming into force. Intended to ensure the fair sharing of genetic resources between users and providers, the convention requires that there is a Prior Informed Consent (PIC) of the “country of origin” and also Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT) for use of the benefits arising from that access. The Protocol requires all research on genetic resources to have both the PIC and also the MAT from the “country of origin”.

The Nagoya Protocol is in force in the EU by means of Regulation 511/14. So researchers need to ensure that they ONLY use genetic material which has a PIC and a MAT from the country of origin. Researchers need to use “due diligence” to ensure that they have fulfilled these obligations and failure to do so is a criminal offence.

Saving graces? Nagoya isn’t retrospective, it doesn’t cover human genetic material and not all countries intend to enforce their Nagoya rights.