The scientific community recognises the challenges faced by policymakers when looking for solutions that balance research needs with the importance of benefit sharing. Scientists who work with DSI can make an important contribution to the effort by countries to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different policy options.
A new strategy to improve global access to information about plant genetic resources and the benefits they offer has been issued by DivSeek International Network (DivSeek), a global network committed to unlocking the potential of crop biodiversity so that it can be used to enhance the productivity, sustainability and resilience of crops and agricultural systems.
A European Court ruling widely interpreted to mean that all gene-edited organisms are GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) may not be as prescriptive as many first assumed.
Many plant scientists rely on open access to information such as DNA sequence data to do their work. They are probably also aware of obligations to respect access and benefit sharing (ABS) rights under the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (The Treaty) and maybe the Nagoya Protocols on Access and Benefit Sharing. These arrangements have long been understood to cover the actual biological material (the plant) but international moves to extend these agreements to include associated data such as digital DNA sequence information (DSI) may impact more directly on the activities of plant scientists (Marden, 2018).
Without sustained investment in plant science, the necessary research to generate innovative discoveries that solve these urgent problems is at risk. Recently, PSRN released its Plant Science Decadal Vision 2020-2030: Reimagining the Potential of Plants for a Healthy and Sustainable Future, a report that outlines bold, innovative solutions to guide investments and research in plant science over the next 10 years.
A virtual Workshop on the Development of National Gene Banks in the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was conducted online. The 160 participants examined issues of the development, conservation and exchange of plant and animal genetic resources for food and agriculture intending to promote strong and resilient food systems.
As plant scientists, we are all only too aware of the ‘plant blindness’ that pervades the world. The Global Plant Council aims to raise awareness about the importance of plant science (and its scientists) for society globally.
In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists are facing great challenges because they have to reorient, interrupt or even cancel research and teaching. International researchers demand the active protection and support of diversity, equity and inclusion in science.
The EU has published a list of 20 regulated quarantine pests qualifying as priority pests, including Xylella fastidiosa, the Japanesebeetle, the Asian long-horned beetle, Citrus greening and Citrus Black Spot, whose economic, environmental and social impact on EU’s territory is the most severe. Member States will have to launch information campaigns to the public, do annual surveys, prepare contingency plans, simulation exercises, and action plans for the eradication of these pests.