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Access and benefits sharing of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge in northern Canada: understanding the legal environment and creating effective research agreements

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Background Research in northern Canada focused on Aboriginal peoples has historically benefited academia with little consideration for the people being researched or their traditional knowledge (TK). Although this attitude is changing, the complexity of TK makes it difficult to develop mechanisms to preserve and protect it. Protecting TK becomes even more important when outside groups become interested in using TK or materials with associated TK. In the latter category are genetic resources, which may have commercial value and are the focus of this article. Objective This article addresses access to and use of genetic resources and associated TK in the context of the historical power-imbalances in research relationships in Canadian north. Design Review. Results Research involving genetic resources and TK is becoming increasingly relevant in northern Canada. The legal framework related to genetic resources and the cultural shift of universities towards commercial goals in research influence the environment for negotiating research agreements. Current guidelines for research agreements do not offer appropriate guidelines to achieve mutual benefit, reflect unequal bargaining power or take the relationship between parties into account. Conclusions Relational contract theory may be a useful framework to address the social, cultural and legal hurdles inherent in creating research agreements.

  • Date created
    2013-08-05
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3RR1PT0P
  • License
    Attribution 3.0 International
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • Int J Circumpolar Health. 2013; 72: 10.3402/ijch.v72i0.21351.