The Nagoya Protocol and Synthetic Biology Research: A Look at the Potential Impacts

33 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2014 Last revised: 21 Nov 2017

See all articles by Margo A. Bagley

Margo A. Bagley

Emory University School of Law

Arti K. Rai

Duke University School of Law; Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Date Written: January 1, 2014


This report, prepared for the Synthetic Biology Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, analyzes the 2010 Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity and how it may affect U.S. researchers working in the field of synthetic biology. The objective of the Protocol is to provide a transparent framework for the acquisition and sharing of genetic resources on fair and equitable terms that facilitate the conservation of biological diversity and associated traditional knowledge. The report finds significant uncertainty surrounding the temporal scope of the Agreement as well as the types of genetic material that will be covered at the implementing country level. Even though the United States is not a signatory to the Protocol, the report recommends that U.S. researchers should engage in discussions regarding the crafting of implementing legislation as they develop, verify the origin of the genetic material that they use, and ensure that such material was taken in compliance with the domestic law of a provider country.

Keywords: patents, synthetic biology, Nagoya protocol, genetic resources, biodiversity

Suggested Citation

Bagley, Margo A. and Rai, Arti Kaur, The Nagoya Protocol and Synthetic Biology Research: A Look at the Potential Impacts (January 1, 2014). Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2014-05, Emory Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN:

Margo A. Bagley (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

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404-727-8293 (Phone)
404-727-6820 (Fax)

Arti Kaur Rai

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative ( email )

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
United States

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