Friday, May 21, 2010
Ethical considerations in agro-biodiversity research, collecting, & use
This research article starts off by acknowledging the crucial role played by staff in the evolutionary dynamics of agricultural biodiversity and the strong relationship between these resources and human cultures. Although these agricultural resources have long been treated as a global public good as they constitute the livelihoods of millions of predominantly poor people, they are 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, e.g. 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. Ethical principles in the context of existing codes of conduct that are relevant for agro-biodiversity researchers are assessed. Key ethical principles considered here include the importance of obtaining prior informed consent, equity, and the inalienability of rights of local communities and farmers. The article is available in the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics in SpringerLink.