Biodiv Sci

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Meta-property right, derived property right and right of modification of biogenetic resources

Zhigang Jiang   

  1. Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080
  • Received:2004-11-09 Revised:2005-06-21 Online:2005-07-20 Published:2005-07-20
  • Contact: Zhigang Jiang


I explored the ownership of biogenetic resources and put forward the concepts of meta-property right, property right and rights of modification of genetic resources. Meta-property right is the property right over the carrier of genetic resources— the animal and plant body, its gametes and genetic information. Derived property right is the partial right of the meta-property right owner of a genetic resource which has been genetically modified for commercial purposes. Much confusion in the acquisition and benefits sharing of genetic resources(ABS)are due to failure to define meta-property right and derived property right; We should pay attention to such problems. Any modification of genetic resource should obey the principle of “respect-ing life”, which matches with the statement “realizing the intrinsic value of biological diversity” of the Con-vention on Biological Diversity. Intrinsic value of biological diversity includes the survival value of species and its extension, the survival value of individuals of the species. Right of modification of the human genetic resource is to be decided by the majority of human society or the state. Modification right of genetic resource should be practiced according to the principles of “preservation”, “good-will” and “preventing ill-doing”. Modification of genetic resource should improve the well-being of human, such as increasing production of crops, reducing contents of harmful material, enhancing the disease resistance of crop and livestock, or bene-fit the environmental protection. Any modification of genetic resource should prevent such ill-will modifica-tion which harms the stabilization of genetic structure of human and wildlife, or creates a new harmful or-ganism.