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  • News & Commentary - Message forums

    Salt Lake Tribune: Patenting Life Is Wrong, Some Say
    Submitted by Gary Van Domselaar; posted on Monday, February 04, 2002


    "Is life itself a patentable commodity, like a frost-free refrigerator or a computer mouse?
    "An increasing number of genetic researchers want it that way and have sent lawyers racing to patent offices to ensure they profit from each DNA discovery.
    "More than 500,000 patents have been applied for on genes or gene sequences worldwide, according to the activist group GeneWatch UK. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office alone has issued approximately 20,000 patents on genes or gene-related molecules and 25,000 more applications are pending.
    "Today hundreds of international activists plan to launch a coordinated campaign to abolish such private control of DNA, which they say is being monopolized for profit to the detriment of world health.
    "The activists, whose protest was timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum in New York, say patent lawyers now aggressively enforce patents on living things that should never have been issued.
    "In Philadelphia, for instance, a university stopped testing 700 anxious women a year for a genetic predisposition to breast cancer because its lab was accused of violating a biotechnology company's patents."

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