February 15, 2018
Recommendation on "The treatment of Digital Sequence Information with respect to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol" was jointly released by two subcommittees of Science Council of Japan, Genetic Resources Subcommittee and Nagoya Protocol Implications on Agricultural Science Review Subcommittee. Japan ratified the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (the Nagoya Protocol), in August 2017. The relevant international conferences are currently debating whether to additionally include digital sequence information such as nucleotide sequence information in the scope of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol. If nucleotide sequence information were to be treated like conventional genetic resources, measures would be required for acquiring approval and permission in data registration to public databases such as the DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ) and utilization of nucleotide sequence information. This would have serious negative impacts on the public databases which have functioned as the most essential research infrastructures in life sciences with their worldwide open accessibility and usability. Moreover, as public databases are used by many researchers not only in recourse user countries but also in recourse provider countries, restrictions on the disclosure and use of digital sequence information would also have adverse impacts on development of science in provider countries. Based on the concerns stated above, the present recommendation asks for consideration with great caution on the treatment of digital sequence information.
Until now, governmental officials of signatory countries have mainly participated in the relevant international conferences for the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol, while academic scientists are not deeply involved either in resource provider countries or in user countries. The recommendation strongly urges that academic scientists all over the world should join in the discussion on this issue from a scientific standpoint.
The PDF of the recommendation can be downloaded from the following URL.
"The treatment of Digital Sequence Information with respect to the CBD and the Nagoya Protocol" (PDF)