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Freeing Crop Genetics through the Open Source Seed Initiative.

Luby CH, Goldman IL - PLoS Biol. (2016)

Bottom Line: Within the past century, however, intellectual property rights (IPRs) have threatened this tradition.In response, a movement has emerged to counter the trend toward increasing consolidation of control and ownership of plant germplasm.Plant breeders across many sectors have taken the OSSI Pledge to create a protected commons of plant germplasm for future generations.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
For millennia, seeds have been freely available to use for farming and plant breeding without restriction. Within the past century, however, intellectual property rights (IPRs) have threatened this tradition. In response, a movement has emerged to counter the trend toward increasing consolidation of control and ownership of plant germplasm. One effort, the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI, www.osseeds.org), aims to ensure access to crop genetic resources by embracing an open source mechanism that fosters exchange and innovation among farmers, plant breeders, and seed companies. Plant breeders across many sectors have taken the OSSI Pledge to create a protected commons of plant germplasm for future generations.

No MeSH data available.


Lettuce cultivars released using three different mechanisms.Plant cultivars released into the public domain are often utilized in developing subsequent cultivars [8] that are then protected using various forms of intellectual property rights (IPR). The following lettuce cultivars are released using a variety of IPRs that allow subsequent users to utilize cultivars in future breeding in different ways. Photo credits: Multigreen 57, Osbourne Seed Company; Chartreuse Butter Tongue, Karen Morton; SM13-R2, Jose Orozco, USDA/ARS.
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pbio.1002441.g001: Lettuce cultivars released using three different mechanisms.Plant cultivars released into the public domain are often utilized in developing subsequent cultivars [8] that are then protected using various forms of intellectual property rights (IPR). The following lettuce cultivars are released using a variety of IPRs that allow subsequent users to utilize cultivars in future breeding in different ways. Photo credits: Multigreen 57, Osbourne Seed Company; Chartreuse Butter Tongue, Karen Morton; SM13-R2, Jose Orozco, USDA/ARS.

Mentions: Besides promoting innovation, IPRs were seen as a mechanism to disseminate knowledge. However, some have questioned whether the current IPR regime encourages the exchange of information and innovation [4]. While plants are not knowledge per se, the interaction of humans and agricultural plants functions somewhat like a knowledge-based system. Plant breeders continue to select for improved traits and to build on the work of farmers and plant breeders that has occurred since the dawn of agriculture some 10,000 years ago. In this way, restricting access to plant germplasm prevents others from continuing to use that accumulated “knowledge” to select improved genotypes. For example, many new lettuce cultivars are being patented. This includes patents on cultivars, such as “Multigreen 57” lettuce [5], that prevent others from using that cultivar for any purpose without first obtaining a license from the patent holder (Fig 1). This is in contrast to a cultivar or line, such as “SM13-R2,” released into the public domain by the US Department of Agriculture lettuce breeding program in California [6]. While USDA lines are freely available to use, the resulting hybrid from a cross with this line could be proprietary. In contrast, cultivars released under the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) Pledge, such as the open-pollinated “Chartreuse Butter Tongue” cultivar developed by Frank Morton, can be used freely for any purpose on the condition that all derivatives and seed retain the same freedoms (Fig 1). While many broad-based utility patents are still pending, plant breeders who have developed cultivars with similar traits may be unable to use them for 20 years if the utility patents are ultimately granted. Additionally, “bag tag” licenses attached to seed packets and certain restrictive contracts required for seed purchases contain provisions that prevent the saving and reuse of seed, essentially creating a “one-time rental” agreement for use of seed [7]. Contracts may also inhibit use of seed for research purposes in the public sector if, for example, the details of the contract restrict publication of data.


Freeing Crop Genetics through the Open Source Seed Initiative.

Luby CH, Goldman IL - PLoS Biol. (2016)

Lettuce cultivars released using three different mechanisms.Plant cultivars released into the public domain are often utilized in developing subsequent cultivars [8] that are then protected using various forms of intellectual property rights (IPR). The following lettuce cultivars are released using a variety of IPRs that allow subsequent users to utilize cultivars in future breeding in different ways. Photo credits: Multigreen 57, Osbourne Seed Company; Chartreuse Butter Tongue, Karen Morton; SM13-R2, Jose Orozco, USDA/ARS.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4836679&req=5

pbio.1002441.g001: Lettuce cultivars released using three different mechanisms.Plant cultivars released into the public domain are often utilized in developing subsequent cultivars [8] that are then protected using various forms of intellectual property rights (IPR). The following lettuce cultivars are released using a variety of IPRs that allow subsequent users to utilize cultivars in future breeding in different ways. Photo credits: Multigreen 57, Osbourne Seed Company; Chartreuse Butter Tongue, Karen Morton; SM13-R2, Jose Orozco, USDA/ARS.
Mentions: Besides promoting innovation, IPRs were seen as a mechanism to disseminate knowledge. However, some have questioned whether the current IPR regime encourages the exchange of information and innovation [4]. While plants are not knowledge per se, the interaction of humans and agricultural plants functions somewhat like a knowledge-based system. Plant breeders continue to select for improved traits and to build on the work of farmers and plant breeders that has occurred since the dawn of agriculture some 10,000 years ago. In this way, restricting access to plant germplasm prevents others from continuing to use that accumulated “knowledge” to select improved genotypes. For example, many new lettuce cultivars are being patented. This includes patents on cultivars, such as “Multigreen 57” lettuce [5], that prevent others from using that cultivar for any purpose without first obtaining a license from the patent holder (Fig 1). This is in contrast to a cultivar or line, such as “SM13-R2,” released into the public domain by the US Department of Agriculture lettuce breeding program in California [6]. While USDA lines are freely available to use, the resulting hybrid from a cross with this line could be proprietary. In contrast, cultivars released under the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) Pledge, such as the open-pollinated “Chartreuse Butter Tongue” cultivar developed by Frank Morton, can be used freely for any purpose on the condition that all derivatives and seed retain the same freedoms (Fig 1). While many broad-based utility patents are still pending, plant breeders who have developed cultivars with similar traits may be unable to use them for 20 years if the utility patents are ultimately granted. Additionally, “bag tag” licenses attached to seed packets and certain restrictive contracts required for seed purchases contain provisions that prevent the saving and reuse of seed, essentially creating a “one-time rental” agreement for use of seed [7]. Contracts may also inhibit use of seed for research purposes in the public sector if, for example, the details of the contract restrict publication of data.

Bottom Line: Within the past century, however, intellectual property rights (IPRs) have threatened this tradition.In response, a movement has emerged to counter the trend toward increasing consolidation of control and ownership of plant germplasm.Plant breeders across many sectors have taken the OSSI Pledge to create a protected commons of plant germplasm for future generations.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
For millennia, seeds have been freely available to use for farming and plant breeding without restriction. Within the past century, however, intellectual property rights (IPRs) have threatened this tradition. In response, a movement has emerged to counter the trend toward increasing consolidation of control and ownership of plant germplasm. One effort, the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI, www.osseeds.org), aims to ensure access to crop genetic resources by embracing an open source mechanism that fosters exchange and innovation among farmers, plant breeders, and seed companies. Plant breeders across many sectors have taken the OSSI Pledge to create a protected commons of plant germplasm for future generations.

No MeSH data available.