Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 1 (4):207-215 (2003)
AbstractThis paper is the result of the research I undertook at Lancaster University with a Marie Curie Fellowship during the academic years 2000‐2002. The objective of this research was to study the limits and the challenges of the analogy between molecular geneticists’ work and hackers’ activities. By focusing on this analogy I aim to explore the different ethical and philosophical issues surrounding new genetics and its IPR regulations. The paper firstly will show the philosophical background lying behind the proposed analogy and analyses the sense in which we can talk of geneticists as “hackers.” It will provide grounds for the analogy by exploring some of the techniques used by geneticists; in particular it will focus on the so‐called Shotgun method for genomic sequencing. After having provided reasons for the proposed analogy I will claim that the open source philosophy used in the computer field would be a good way to regulate research in the genetics and in pharmaceutical field too. The open source philosophy would provide fair distribution of research opportunities around the globe with the shift from patenting to copyright in sensitive fields such as genetics.
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