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Title: Options and legal requirements for national and regional animal genetic resources collections

item Blackburn, Harvey
item BOETTCHER, PAUL - Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS, USDA)

Submitted to: Animal Genetic Resources Information
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/3/2010
Publication Date: 11/30/2010
Citation: Blackburn, H.D., Boettcher, P. 2010. Options and legal requirements for national and regional animal genetic resources collections. Animal Genetic Resources Information. 47:91-100.

Interpretive Summary: Gene banks for animal genetic resources are a relatively new activity that countries are initiating. As a result, there is a need for each country to develop its own set of policies which complies with other national laws. When acquiring germplasm or tissue samples the most prevalent law for gene bank managers to be aware of concerns the private property laws since most, if not all, livestock that will provide samples to the repository are the private property of the breeder. Because livestock are private property gene bank managers need to make arrangements for germplasm acquisition with each breeder whose animals are to be collected. Animal health regulations are another area which can potentially impact which animals and what type of germplasm is collected and stored within a country. If germplasm is to be transferred across international boarders the health protocols of the OIE are in place to provide a framework for determining what type of health testing is necessary for germplasm movement. Both nationally and internationally there may be need to consider how health regulations and genetic conservation interface particularly when faced with decisions over breed conservation and health regulation governing the movement and use of germplasm. Specific situations may require a relaxation of health regulations or a special wavier in order to provide the necessary protection of a specific genetic resource.

Technical Abstract: The contraction of animal genetic resources on a global scale has motivated countries to establish gene banks as a mechanism to conserve national resources. Gene banks should establish a set of policies that insure they are complying with national laws. The two primary areas of consideration are how gene banks interact with the owners of the livestock from which they are collecting samples and the relevant national or international health standards. With respect to dealing with livestock breeders for the purpose of germplasm acquisition, private property rights are the most common legal issue that will come into consideration while building collections and distributing stored material. National animal health standards may determine which animals may or may not be collected and to what extent the germplasm can be used. Internationally, the country’s overall health status will determine the type of testing necessary before, during and after collection to ensure movement of germplasm across international boundaries and through the normal protocols of animal germplasm transfer. Policy makers will need to evaluate if the present structure of the OIE regulations will allow the development of bi-lateral back-up collections or if waivers should be given to facilitate the genetic security afforded through gene banking.