Genomic sovereignty or the enemy


  • Jesús Mario Siqueiros García Instituto Nacional de Medicina Genómica
  • Pablo Francisco Oliva-Sánchez Instituto Nacional de Medicina Genómica
  • Garbiñe Saruwatari-Zavala Instituto Nacional de Medicina Genómica


Genomic sovereignty is a concept that has become very popular among developing countries such as India, China, South Africa and Mexico. This concept is a response to developed countries that have taken advantage of those countries and researchers who don't have the means for protecting their own biogenetic resources. In this article we argue that genomic sovereignty is not about the "others" extracting and exploiting local "human genetic resources", but developing and implementing the ethical, legal and administrative tools, based on transparency, openness and equal access to biological material, in order to build up a robust research networks. Being biological samples a scarce and valuable good, we conclude that controlling the access to this resource by means of the law, without a well implemented biobanking system and a clear scientific policy may lead to a situation where asymmetric relations are generated among research groups of the very same developing country. We would advice to those countries pretending to protect their biological samples and data from the outside, before developing laws against possible "intrusions", they need to design strategies to promote equal and fair access to both resources paramount to biomedical research. 


genomic sovereignty, Mexico, law, research communities, developing countries, biological samples, cultural values, biobanks ethics