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U.S. National Plant Germplasm System Distribution Policy

Plant germplasm is distributed to scientists, educators, producers and other bona fide research and education entities from U.S. National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) active collection sites. The NPGS Curator and/or Research Leader will, in accordance with current NPGS policies and procedures, determine the legitimacy of a request when necessary.

Distributions to fulfill requests for repatriation of subsamples of germplasm collections to a country or community of origin, especially following natural or man-made catastrophes, are considered a high priority.

Although distributions for research, education, and repatriation are of the highest priority, the NPGS also encourages various seed-saver organizations and public gardens to conduct germplasm conservation activities that engage many individuals and groups throughout the country. Elements of the NPGS cooperate with seed-saver organizations and public gardens and may store germplasm for and distribute germplasm to such organizations.

Distribution of germplasm from NPGS collections to fulfill requests from individuals seeking free germplasm strictly for home use is generally considered an inappropriate use of limited resources and conflicts with U.S. Government policy of not competing with commercial enterprises. Requestors can be asked, in an appropriate manner, to justify the use of specific NPGS germplasm instead of suitable commercially available germplasm.

Accessions listed in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) database as “not available” due to insufficient or low viability seed and/or scheduled for regeneration will generally not be available for distribution.

Other accessions are listed in GRIN as “not available” because they are not a part of the NPGS collection per se, but are conserved in NPGS genebanks to meet specific needs as described later in the section entitled “Categories of Germplasm Distributed and Availability.” In this category are certain accessions of improved germplasm that are only available from the owner/developer. Other accessions require that specific conditions be met by the requestor before distribution is possible.

NPGS sites will not distribute germplasm internationally when they cannot comply with the importation or quarantine requirements of the recipient country unless the requestor can provide a valid waiver of such requirements.

CIMMYT Germplasm Policy (excerpts)

CIMMYT holds and manages its germplasm as an international public good and is committed to its widespread and facilitated diffusion and use to achieve the maximum possible access, scale, scope of impact, and sharing of benefits for the poor, especially maize and wheat farmers and consumers in developing countries. To safeguard its international public goods character, and by legal obligation with FAO and the Governing Body of the International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), CIMMYT germplasm for use in food and agriculture is transferred using the Standard Materials Transfer Agreement (SMTA) of the ITPGRFA or equivalent Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) in the case of species that are not listed in the Annex 1 of the ITPGRFA.

Distributions to fulfill requests for repatriation of subsamples of germplasm collections to a country or community of origin, especially following natural or man-made catastrophes, are considered a high priority.

The CIMMYT germplasm research for development focus is on (i) conservation and the effective use of genetic diversity and (ii) the further development and deployment of CIMMYT germplasm for the benefit of improved and more sustainable food and nutrition security, poverty reduction, and environmental sustainability.

CIMMYT strives to make CIMMYT held germplasm, as well as the data and other outputs resulting from its germplasm research and development activities, openly available and accessible for research, breeding and training for food and agriculture, in accordance with the ITPGRFA, the CGIAR Intellectual Assets Principles, the CGIAR Open Access and Data Management Policy and CIMMYT's Intellectual Assets Policy. Germplasm availability is made public through the web, field days etc. and access is free of charge or at minimal cost. CIMMYT may apply additional conditions to the transfer of germplasm under development from its breeding and research programs in support of accelerated use, data sharing, and impact assessment.

CIMMYT acquires and distributes all seed samples in accordance with relevant international and national regulations, such as phytosanitary/quarantine laws, ITPGRFA or CBD, and national laws for genetic resources access, transgenic status, and other considerations. Germplasm imported, exported, or acquired from quarantined regions within the same country must pass through the applicable quarantine processes implemented by an accredited CIMMYT Seed Health Unit or the importing or exporting countries' dedicated authorities, as well as meeting all necessary regulatory requirements, before acceptance and use by CIMMYT for conservation, breeding, research, and/or dissemination to third parties.

CIMMYT makes no warranties, express or implied, regarding the quality, viability or purity (genetic or mechanical), safety of and/or use of CIMMYT-held germplasm including any warranty of merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose, including without limitation, production, breeding, crossing, testing, commercialization, or non-infringement of third-party intellectual property.