Patenting Genes: A Fast and Furious Primer

International Journal of Applied Philosophy 17 (2):267-275 (2003)
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Patents have been issued in the United States for genes and gene sequences since 1980. Patent protection has provided incentives to aggressively probe the genome of humans and non-humans alike in search of profitable applications. Yet it is not clear that patent protection should have been afforded to genes and gene sequences and it is increasingly clear that patent protection, as currently formulated, is not an appropriate means to realize the full benefits of genetic research. As we stand on the threshold on a genetically enhanced future, in which we shall have the power to consciously steer our evolution as a species, we need to carefully consider how to shape the benefits of genetic research and how to recognize and contain its detriments



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