‘Genes cannot be patented’

Human and other genes should not be eligible for patents because ‘they are part of nature’, says (PDF) the US Department of Justice on behalf of the government, revoking longstanding policy – and practice of government agencies like the Patent and Trademark Office and the National Institutes of Health.

The statement was made on Friday, the same day that the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, during their summit in Nagoya, agreed to make an end to ‘bio-piracy’, forcing for instance pharmaceutical companies to share profits derived from unique genetic material – with the nations that biodiversity originated from. Such rules are said to possibly generate billions of dollars for developing nations, hopefully benefiting conservation measures in these countries.

Although the new liberal stance allows for even better sharing of the wealth of biodiversity, it could also mean the corporate profits may be much smaller – as then would the chunks the poor nations could receive.

© Rolf Schuttenhelm | www.bitsofscience.org

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