112-1 Germplasm Access - Policy and Considerations.

See more from this Division: C08 Plant Genetic Resources
See more from this Session: Symposium--Progress, Opportunities and Considerations Gleaning Useful Diversity From Expired Patented Germplasm and Transgenic Traits for Enhanced Crop Performance
Monday, October 17, 2011: 1:10 PM
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Room 206B
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June Blalock, Office of Technology Transfer, USDA-ARS, Beltsville, MD
Both the conservation of plant genetic resources, and access to those resources for plant breeding purposes, are essential for crop improvement, for the continuing competitiveness of the U.S. agriculture sector, and for international food security.  USDA plays an important role in meeting these goals through management of the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), which makes plant germplasm available without restriction to researchers and breeders.  USDA also assures that improved germplasm and new plant varieties resulting from its breeding programs are available to all for further research and breeding.  Plant Variety Protection Certificates (PVPCs), awarded by the USDA Plant Variety Protection Office, provide public and private plant breeders an incentive to develop new and improved crop varieties.  PVPC owners are required to provide voucher samples of their protected varieties, which are maintained by the USDA, Agricultural Research Service, National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation.  Upon expiration of a PVPC, these samples become part of the NPGS public collection.  Making protected varieties available to the public after intellectual property rights expire fulfills the social contract made when such rights are granted to variety owners.

In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult for USDA to achieve the policy objective of assuring broad and unrestricted access to plant genetic diversity.  Current challenges include various restrictions placed on plant germplasm access, such as contractual requirements, intellectual property rights, and international treaty obligations.  Access to transgenic varieties is further complicated by strict regulatory requirements and international trade issues.  USDA’s experiences in meeting these challenges will be discussed.  Options for facilitating access to expired-patent germplasm will be presented.

See more from this Division: C08 Plant Genetic Resources
See more from this Session: Symposium--Progress, Opportunities and Considerations Gleaning Useful Diversity From Expired Patented Germplasm and Transgenic Traits for Enhanced Crop Performance