I just read an interesting article about patenting of genes, have a look and discuss.
Apparently now around 40% of the human genome is patented, meaning that using certain genes, and experimenting with their mutations for future research (such as finding cures for cancer & other diseases) could become difficult for independent researchers.
US company Myriad Genetics claims that the genes they have isolated in order to perform tests looking into gene-related illnesses are products of human ingenuity, giving them the right to patent these gene sequences.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argues that genes are products of nature and should therefore not be subject to patenting under US laws.
"The patent system was designed to encourage innovation, not stifle scientific research and the free exchange of ideas, which is what these patents do," says ACLU's lawyer Christopher Hansen. His co-counsel stated that patenting genes would be "morally offensive."
A court ruling is expected in June, and may have significant consequences for the multi-billion pharmaceuticals industry in the US.
Due to gene recombination during reproduction, every one of us has our own genome. If someone else sequenced your genome and tried to use it to either create a new organism or just for some type of research, would you be offended? Do you think that your genome belongs to you personally, or to mother nature herself?
I feel this topic is becoming very important as technology increasingly moves towards the area of human development and biological capabilities, where computing is combined with living elements.