The cross-border transmission of digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources is an emerging global governance issue, particularly since its inclusion in the post-2020 framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Based on a brief review of the value of DSI and the need for global governance, this paper identifies three elemental regimes on ‘physical’ genetic resources that are in conflict: divergent principles of sovereignty claim, global multilateral sharing and intellectual property rights protection. It then traces the progress of each elemental regime on DSI and describes their ongoing conflicts. Two reform strategies for better governance are suggested: one gradual and path-dependent and one more radical. The basis of the radical strategy is to promote labour division and cooperation among institutions of different elemental regimes within a three-layered system of DSI values.
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