Sunday, December 11, 2011

FLASHBACK: Twenty Percent (20%) of Human Genes Have Been Patented (Intellectual Property Landscape of the Human Genome)(2005)

Do people own their bodies? Legally, does a person own the intellectual property in the genetic composition of his/her body? According to this 2005 study I stumbled across from a few years ago, it is arguable whether a person truly owns the intellectual property in his/her bodies and genetic composition.

Our results reveal that nearly 20% of human genes are explicitly claimed as U.S. IP. This represents 4382 of the 23,688 of genes in the NCBI's gene database at the time of writing (see figure, right). These genes are claimed in 4270 patents within 3050 patent families.

A person should think about that the next time before he/she gives blood or other DNA to a medical facility. That facility could easily use (or license) that genetic material as the basis for some type of bioscience process and then claim the intellectual property in the ownership of the results in the process.

Source: Science Magazine

Image Source: Antony-22 (per: Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)

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