Trade, foreign policy, diplomacy and health

5. Genomics Knowledge

Halla Thorsteinsdottir, Abdallah S Daar, Richard D Smith, Peter A Singer


1. Capacity Strengthening

  • Capacity to absorb, plan and develop genomics knowledge central to its development
  • This involves ‘access goods’
  • Central is building capacity to conduct research and develop & manufacture products based on genomics
  • Also need to strengthen capacity in ethical, legal, social and policy aspects of genomics
  • Capacity in genomics would give developing countries stronger voice in international negotiations

Capacity to absorb, plan and develop genomics knowledge is central to its development. Although involving private goods, it is an 'access good' necessary to reap benefits from the public good of genomics.

Capacity strengthening can be conduced and supported by governments, philanthropic organisations and international organisations. A central part is building capacity to conduct genomics research and develop and manufacture products based on genomics. An essential step is thus building human resources.

Developing countries need also to strengthen their capacity in ethical, legal, social and policy aspects of genomics and biotechnology to craft an operational system in genomics. This would, for example, involve educating judges and policy makers about genomics, to provide them with expertise in addressing the ethical issues associated with genomics and biotechnologies.

Capacity strengthening methods developed in one country might also be useful in other countries. However, due to differences in prevailing cultural and social values it may not always be possible to transfer systems directly between countries. Strong capacity in genomics would also strengthen the ability of developing countries to participate in international negotiations on genomics issues, which itself could strengthen genomics as a global public good.

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