An anonymous reader writes "Pioneer and veteran of genimocs, Professor John Sulston, is extremely concerned about the patent application on the first "Synthetic lifeform". The patents were filed by the Venter Institute following the announcement of the first life-form to have a synthetic genome (as reported here on slashdot http://science.slashdot.org/story/10/05/20/1839209/Synthetic-Genome-Drives-Bacterial-Cell?from=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Slashdot%2Fslashdot+(Slashdot) ). Sulston claims the patent is excessively broad and would stifle research and development in the field by creating an effective monopoly on synthetic life and related molecular techniques.
Prof. Sulston has previously locked horns with Dr Craig Venter (of the eponymous Venter institute) over intellectual property issues surrounding the human genome project ten years ago. Fortunately Sulston won the last round and the HGP is freely accessible — Venter had wanted to charge for access just as he now wishes to make "synthetic life" proprietary."
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