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The value of conserving genetic resources for R&D: A survey

Authors
Disciplines
  • Biology

Abstract

The value of genetic resources for R&D is placed within the framework of discussions concerning sustainability. We assess the extent to which society is able to invest now in order to prepare for future risks and uncertainties in the arrival of biological problems. Each of the approaches to valuation is discussed within this setting. Weitzman's approach to measurement is seen to be one that considers society's current objectives and information to be little relevant to future risks and uncertainties. Sedjo, Simpson and Reids' search-theoretic perspective is seen to reduce future uncertainties to highly tractable and known problems. Goeschl and Swanson's bio-technological approach also constrains the problem to be one without any real uncertainty, and focuses on the need to maintain genetic resources in order to maintain control over the problem. Kassar and Lasserre place uncertainty at the core of the problem, and assess the extent to which additional value is added by this feature. In sum all of the approaches to the problem evince a pessimism regarding the capacity of future technological change automatically to resolve these problems. Given this, the value of genetic resources depends on beliefs concerning the ability of current objectives to anticipate future risks and uncertainties.

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