Ethical Considerations in Agro-biodiversity Research, Collecting, and Use

Abstract
Humans have always played a crucial role in the evolutionary dynamics of agricultural biodiversity and thus there is a strong relationship between these resources and human cultures. These agricultural resources have long been treated as a global public good, and constitute the livelihoods of millions of predominantly poor people. At the same time, agricultural biodiversity is under serious threat in many parts of the world despite extensive conservation efforts. Ethical considerations regarding the collecting, research, and use of agricultural biodiversity are currently topics of great concern. For example, easy access to genetic resources for breeding purposes is important, but international agreements and legal frameworks are necessary to ensure adequate recognition of the contributions of local communities and traditional farmers in creating and nurturing these resources. Here, we assess ethical principles in the context of existing codes of conduct that are relevant for agro-biodiversity researchers. We aim to create awareness among scientists and policy makers who are concerned with agro-biodiversity research and its potential impact on local communities. We encourage a serious assessment of the ethical principles presented here and hope to facilitate an integration of these principles into the reader’s personal ethical framework. Key ethical principles considered here include the importance of obtaining prior informed consent, equity, and the inalienability of rights of local communities and farmers
Keywords Agricultural biodiversity  Bio-ethics  Genetic resources  Traditional knowledge  Access and benefit-sharing  International agreements
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