The inclusion of the digital sequence information (DSI) in the scope of the Nagoya Protocol and its consequences

Aírton Guilherme Berger Filho, Bruna Gomes Maia


The Nagoya Protocol, a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), was drafted considering the classical model of biopiracy based on the appropriation of physical samples. However, with the development of new technologies of DNA and RNA sequencing, scientists are no longer using just tangible samples on their research. Instead, they are accessing genetic resources in a digital format, the Digital Sequence Information (DSI). Mainly based on the studies requested by the Conference of the Parties to the CBD, in its thirteenth and fourteenth meetings, this article aims at examining the challenges that the ABS system will have to face in case DSI is considered a genetic resource under the Nagoya Protocol. This article concludes that the emergence of new forms of accessing the genetic resources does not undermine the role of the ABS regime, which should walk alongside the advances of technology to guarantee distributive justice.


biodiversity; Nagoya Protocol; Access and Benefit-Sharing system; Digital Sequence Information

Texto completo:

PDF (English)


BAGLEY, Margo. Digital DNA: The Nagoya Protocol, Intellectual Property Treaties, and Synthetic Biology. Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 11, Emory Legal Studies Research Paper, February 2016.

BAGLEY, Margo. Of Disclosure “Straws” and IP System “Camels”: Patents, Innovation, and the Disclosure of Origin Requirement. In: Daniel Robinson, Ahmed Abdel-Latif, Pedro Roffe eds. Protecting Traditional Knowledge: The WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, Routledge Press, 2017.

BRUNNÉE J. Common areas, common heritage and common concern. In: Daniel Bodansky, Jutta Brunnée and Ellen Hey (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2007.

BUCK, Mathias; HAMILTON, Claire. The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Review of European Community & International Environmental law, 2011.

CBD/DSI/AHTEG/2020/1/7. Report of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Digital Sequence Information on genetic resources. Available at: (last accessed 02 Feb. 2021).

CBD/DSI/AHTEG/2020/1/3. Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resources: concept, scope and current use. Available at: (last accessed 05 Feb. 2021).

Convention on Biological Diversity. Available at: (last accessed 15 Sep. 2020).

Convention on Biological Diversity. About The Nagoya Protocol. Available at: (last accessed 1 October 2020).

Convention on Biological Diversity. Decision XIII/16, paragraph 3(b). Available at: (last accessed 10 Sep. 2020).

Convention on Biological Diversity - Item 5 of the provisional agenda – Digital sequence information on genetic resources. Available at: Last accessed October 2021.

Convention on Biological Diversity. Signatories. Available at: accessed 05 Mar. 2021).

CHASEK, P; DOWNIE, D. and BROWN, J. W, Global Environmental Politics, 7th edn , Routledge Press, 2018.

COP - 2 Decision II/11 . Available at: Last accessed 01 October 2021.

COP - 15. Available at: (last accessed 26 Sep 2021).

CULLET, P. Environmental justice in the use, knowledge and exploitation of genetic resources. In: Jonas Ebbesson and Phoebe Okowa (eds.) Environmental law and justice in context, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2009.

DEPLAZES-ZEMP, A. Genetic resources, an analysis of a multifaceted concept. Biological Conservation, 222, 86–94, 2018.

DRÖGE, Gabriele; HUANG, Sixing; ROHDEN, Fabian and SCHOLZ, Amber Hartman. Combined Study on DSI in Public and private databases and DSI traceability, 2019. Available at: (last accessed 15 sep. 2020).

Ecological Society of America. Available at: (last accessed 05 March 2021).

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Available at: Last accessed: September 2021.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Available at: (last accessed: 6 September 2021).

GRIFFITHS, A.J.F, WESSLER S. R., CARROL, S. B. , DOEBLEY. Introduction to genetic analysis, eighth edition. W. H. Freeman and Company, New York, 2004.

HAMMOND, E. Gene sequences and biopiracy: Protecting benefit-sharing as synthetic biology changes access to genetic resources. Third World Network, August 2017.

HARROP, S. R, Living in Harmony with Nature? Outcomes of the 2010 Nagoya Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Journal of Environmental Law, 2011.

HASSEMER, M, Genetic Resources In: Silke Von Lewinski (ed) Indigenous heritage and Intellectual property: Genetic resources, Traditional knowledge and Folklore, Kluwer Law International: London, 2004.

HIEMSTRA, S.J., M. Brink, T. van HINTUM, Digital Sequence Information (DSI); Options and impact of regulating access and benefit sharing - stakeholder perspectives. Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands (CmGN), Wageningen University & Research, CGN Report 42, 2019.

JOSPEH, R. K, International Regime on Access and Benefit Sharing: Where are we now? Asian Biotechnology and Development Review, 2010.

KAMAU, E. C.; FEDDER, B.; WINTER, G, The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing: What is new and what are the implications for provider and user countries and the scientific community? Law, Environment and Development Journal, 2010.

KISS, Alexandre. The common heritage of mankind: utopia or reality? International Journal, Vol. 40, No. 3, Law in the International Community, p. 423-441, 1985.

LAIRD, Sarah and WYNBERG, Rachel. Locating Responsible Research and Innovation Within Access and Benefit Sharing Spaces of the Convention on Biological Diversity: The Challenge of Emerging Technologies. Vol. 10 Nanoethics, 2016.

LAIRD, Sarah; WYNBERG, Rachel. A Fact-Finding and Scoping Study on Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resources in the Context of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol, p. 2–79. Montreal: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2018. Available at: (last accessed 15 set 2020).

LAWSON, Charles; ROURKE, Michelle. Digital Sequence Information as a marine genetic resource under the proposed UNCLOS legally binding instrument, Marine Policy, Vol. 122, 2020.

LING, Chee Yoke. Access obligations increased. The Road to an Anti-Piracy Agreement: The negotiations under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. 2nd ed. Penang, Third World Network, 2011.

MGBEOJI, Ikechi. Beyond Rhetoric: State Sovereignty, Common Concern, and the Inapplicability of the Common Heritage Concept to Plant Genetic Resources. Leiden Journal of International Law, 16(4), p.821–837, 2003.

MGBEOJI, Ikechi. Global biopiracy: patents, plants and indigenous knowledge. UBC Press, 2006.

MILLER, Marian. The third world in global environmental politics, Open University Press: Buckingham, 1995.

MULLER, Manuel Ruiz. Genetic Resources as Natural Information (Routledge Studies in Law and Sustainable Development) Taylor and Francis, 2015.

NOLLKAEMPER, A. Sovereignty and environmental justice in international law. In: Eds. Jonas Ebbesson and Phoebe Okowa. Environmental law and justice in context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

OLIVEIRA, Liziane Paixão Silva. A Convenção sobre Diversidade Biológica e o princípio da soberania nacional. Originalmente apresentada como Dissertação de Mestrado, Universidade de Brasília, 2006.

OLIVEIRA, Liziane Paixão Silva; BARROS, Ana Flávia; CRAVO, Jorge Gomes. Mitigating the principle of sovereignty over biological resources? Nomos. v. 38 n. 2 (2018): jul./dez. 2018 pp. 244-256.

SANDS, P, Principles of international environmental law, 3nd edn, Cambridge University Press: New York, 2012.

SHELTON, Dinah. Common Concern of Humanity. Iustum Aequum Salutare V. 2009/1. Available at: (last accessed 11 October 2021).

TAMA, A; KWEKA, B. J and K. RHEE, A critical review of blockchain and its current applications, International Conference on Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (ICECOS), Palembang, Indonesia, 2017.

TRINDADE, Antônio Augusto Cançado. The parallel evolutions of international Human rights protection and of environmental Protection and the absence of restrictions upon the exercise of recognized human rights. In: Human Rights and Environment/ coord. Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade e César Barros Leal. Expressão Gráfica e Editora, 2017.

TWN. Available at: (last accessed 05 march 2021).

TVEDT, Morten Walløe and SCHEI, Peter Johan. The term “genetic resources” flexible and dynamic while providing legal certainty? In: Global governance of genetic resources : access and benefit sharing after the Nagoya Protocol / Sebastian Oberthür, G. Kristin Rosendal. Routledge, 2013.

Watanabe, Myrna. The Nagoya Protocol: The Conundrum of Defining Digital Sequence Information. BioScience Vol. 69 No. 6, June 2019.

SCOTT, D; BOND M. Digital biopiracy and the (dis)assembling of the Nagoya Protocol.

Geoforum 117 p. 24–32, 2020.


ISSN 2236-997X (impresso) - ISSN 2237-1036 (on-line)

Desenvolvido por:

Logomarca da Lepidus Tecnologia