Saturday, October 29, 2005

Private companies own human gene patents: "

Nearly a fifth of all human genes have been patented - the majority by private biotechnology companies, according to a survey carried out by Kyle Jensen and Fiona Murray at MIT. Besides, the rights to some human genes, such as BRCA1, the gene linked to breast cancer, are claimed by more than one company, with as many as 20 patents asserting rights to various uses.


Many scientists fear that by monopolising specific genes, companies will exclude other researchers from studying them.

John Harris, at the University of Manchester, said: 'I worry that this kind of patenting could have impacts on the cost of health and the freedom to access it.'

According to Helen Wallace of Genewatch, the patent grab threatens to skew research into areas where intellectual property rights are easy to secure. 'It encourages a search for genes, when many problems with health could be addressed by better research into diet, social and economic factors.'

Via The Guardian. Image Critical Art Ensemble.


(Via we make money not art.)