HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Patented Genes

A recent report demonstrates that nearly 1/5 of all human genes have been patented.  From National Geographic,

A new study shows that 20 percent of human genes have been patented in the United States, primarily by private firms and universities.

The study, which is reported this week in the journal Science, is the first time that a detailed map has been created to match patents to specific physical locations on the human genome.

Researchers can patent genes because they are potentially valuable research tools, useful in diagnostic tests or to discover and produce new drugs.

"It might come as a surprise to many people that in the U.S. patent system human DNA is treated like other natural chemical products," said Fiona Murray, a business and science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and a co-author of the study.

"An isolated DNA sequence can be patented in the same manner that a new medicine, purified from a plant, could be patented if an inventor identifies a [new] application."

[bm]

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/healthlawprof_blog/2005/10/patented_genes.html

| Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bfae553ef00d8355657fe69e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Patented Genes: