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Who Owns You? 20% Of Your Genes Are Patented

kkleiner (1468647) writes | more than 4 years ago

Science 1

kkleiner (1468647) writes "Here’s a disconcerting thought: for the past thirty years, genes have been patentable. And we’re not just talking genetically modified corn – your genes, pretty much as they exist in your body, can and have been patented. The US government reports over three million gene patent applications have been filed so far; over 40,000 patents are held on sections of the human genome, covering roughly 20% of our genes. Upset? You’re not alone."
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Isolate and purify? (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 4 years ago | (#33356328)

Isolation and purification are the key aspects when patenting discoveries of natural biological processes. Was it ok to patent adrenaline for treatment use? That seems reasonable to me. Would it be ok to patent the stop codons and claim anything that uses them is an infringement? Not so reasonable. Design a drug targeting certain gene expressions - sounds good. Patent a gene causing disease and squat the territory to collect a share of anyone's work related to that gene - not so good.

This is starting to get challenged more in court these days - we'll have to wait and see if the balance moves from "all patents are ok." The trick will be figuring out how to fund the labs (or provide motivation) which specialize in gene-disease linking who are not also the labs which develop drugs to treat those diseases based on their info. Public funding is great - but there isn't enough to go around.

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