Date: 07 Nov 2013

Genomic Approaches and Intellectual Property Protection for Variety Release: A Perspective from the Private Sector

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Abstract

Genetic gain is a critical means to improve crop production and will increasingly be relied upon to further improve agricultural productivity in ways that are more sustainable. Partly through the use of molecular markers plant breeders have been able to increase the rate of genetic gain by increasing efficiencies in selection for improved performance of agronomic traits. Greater knowledge of the genetic basis of agronomic traits will help breeders to more efficiently explore and harness plant genetic resources including those that are currently exotic. Efficient processes to obtain intellectual property protection (IPP) are important to allow the private sector to invest in research and product development. Morphological data are currently the criteria by which varieties are judged to meet the criteria for Plant Variety Protection (PVP); similar data also form an important component of patent filings. Molecular markers that are based upon specific Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, including those surveyed using whole genome sequence data, now provide the basis for intellectual property (IP) systems that are more efficient, precise, cost effective, better supportive of IP, and with true potential for greater harmonization. We report on how such a transition could be undertaken.