Thursday, June 4, 2009

Patenting Human Genes Thwarts Research

I found this article to be very disturbing in that the research being supported is leading to genes being patented - the goal being personal glory & financial gain rather than the ultimate aim of improving the human condition.

The article published today in the Kansas City on-line news, states that more than 20% of the human genes have been patented which is a concern for those doing medical research.

"Twenty percent of the human genes are currently patented," said Christopher Hansen, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a suit last month challenging six patents on two genes that are connected to tests for breast and ovarian cancer.

A gene patent gives its owner the exclusive right, for up to 20 years, to control its use for medical research, diagnosis or treatment."

The article goes on to say that there are numerous patents being filed creating a backlog and the effect of patenting genes has had detrimental effects.

"Fiona Murray, a professor of management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, reported a "significant decrease in the rate of follow-on research after patents on gene sequences have been filed and granted."

The Patent Office estimated that about 52,800 patents have been granted related to genes, fragments of genes, genetic processes and bits of DNA as small as a single letter change in the genetic code."

"It is curious--curious that physical courage should be so common in
the world, and moral courage so rare."

-Mark Twain

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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