Crop germplasm from developing countries provides a major source of biological material for the development of improved crop varieties and medicines. Biotechnologists are increasingly cloning and patenting genes derived from these sources. Engineering and introduction of these genes into crop plants and other organisms is likely to lead to major advances in agriculture and medicine with potential worldwide benefits. Commercialization of these new products also brings concerns regarding who will benefit financially. While most recognize the importance of equitable sharing of benefits derived from genetic resources obtained from developing countries, few practical solutions have been implemented to achieve this goal. In a step towards recognizing the source nations and institutes that have contributed to making possible important scientific advances, the University of California at Davis has set up the Genetic Resources Recognition Fund (GRRF). Part of the royalties derived from the licensing of academic discoveries using developing countries' materials can be used to fund fellowships, land conservation efforts, or other projects that will benefit the developing nation partner. For more information please contact Pam Ronald.
Ronald PC.The GRRF. January 1998 issue of AgBiotech News.
Kerry Ten Kate and Amanda Collis. Benefit-Sharing Case Study: The GRRF (PDF format). Submission to the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 1997.
Perlman, David. Rice-Gene Scientist Sharing Success With Poor Nations. San Francisco Chronicle, May 26, 1997.