Derek on Gene Patents

Derek Lowe has an interesting post up on the patenting of genes. Well worth taking a look at for a more technical description of the problems with the practice.

Best part….

How about polymers that aren’t man-made, like cotton or silk? We have no good way (at present) to produce or isolate individual single isomers of such things, the way we can with stretches of RNA or DNA. If I invent one, I’ll most certainly apply for a patent on the method of doing that, just like someone who invents a new way to separate or purify DNA would. I don’t think anyone should have a problem with that, because that would be an inventive step by anyone’s definition. But can I then turn around and get composition-of-matter patents on some of the things I can isolate with my new technique? Judging from the genomics examples, I’d say that I could, if I could pass a further test.

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