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  •  Er...no one has "copyrighted the gene code". Eom (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Sat Jul 07, 2012 at 07:23:23 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  No, not the entire genomes, but they have (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck, QDMacaw

      done this with specific sections of it, especially with regards to cancer and other human diseases.

      BBC: The Growth in Gene Patenting

      NYT via Penn State: Gene Patents

      NYT OPEd: Patenting Life

      For example, Canavan disease is an inherited disorder that affects children starting at 3 months; they cannot crawl or walk, they suffer seizures and eventually become paralyzed and die by adolescence. Formerly there was no test to tell parents if they were at risk. Families enduring the heartbreak of caring for these children engaged a researcher to identify the gene and produce a test. Canavan families around the world donated tissue and money to help this cause.

      When the gene was identified in 1993, the families got the commitment of a New York hospital to offer a free test to anyone who wanted it. But the researcher’s employer, Miami Children’s Hospital Research Institute, patented the gene and refused to allow any health care provider to offer the test without paying a royalty. The parents did not believe genes should be patented and so did not put their names on the patent. Consequently, they had no control over the outcome.NYT

      That NYT article continues:
      But forget the costs: why should people or companies own a disease in the first place? They didn’t invent it. Yet today, more than 20 human pathogens are privately owned, including haemophilus influenza and Hepatitis C. And we’ve already mentioned that tests for the BRCA genes for breast cancer cost $3,000. Oh, one more thing: if you undergo the test, the company that owns the patent on the gene can keep your tissue and do research on it without asking your permission. Don’t like it? Too bad.
      The patent on some mutations was overturned, once again allowing doctors to test for certain Breast Cancer mutations at will, without having to pay an additional licensing fee.

      However other patent laws still stand.

      Vectorblog: ACLU vs Myriad Genes
      Wikipedia also has a short page on Gene Patenting.

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