Submitted to: Peanut Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/19/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: While plant genetic resources continue to be essential for world food security, the exchange of these resources between countries has become increasingly encumbered in recent years. The free and open access to genetic resources that previously were 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 such legislation in several of the countries comprising the primary areas of origin and diversity of Arachis makes the issues associated with germplasm exchange particularly relevant to peanut breeders worldwide. This paper describes some recent USDA experiences with obtaining access in Latin American countries harboring peanut genetic resources. Also discussed are the 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.