Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DNA not patentable; world ends

In an old episode of the Simpsons, Bart wins an elephant, which the Simpsons obviously can't keep. To Bart and Lisa's horror, Homer is inclined to sell the elephant to an ivory dealer. Asked if he would like being killed and having his teeth made into piano keys, Homer responds: “Yes, of course I would! Who wouldn't like that – to be part of the music scene?”

I know how Homer feels, because it looks like I may miss my chance to be part of the glamorous biotech industry. A federal judge has ruled that my DNA (and yours) is not patentable. According to industry lawyers, this will bring genetic research to a screeching halt. But if you have your heart set on having the rights to your DNA owned by a corporation, never fear. The company whose patents were invalidated has vowed to appeal.

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