ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
Date:  15 November 2000


Guardian special report on gene patenting: Wednesday November 15, 2000
Many articles - details of most and multiple links below

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What do you think?  Have your say:  Who controls life?  Should private companies be allowed to patent human genes, or those of staple foodstuffs such as rice?  Is the gene rush out of control, or will this scientific revolution benefit mankind?

Andrew Sheard of the BioIndustry Association, Sue Mayer of GeneWatch UK and Guardian science correspondent James Meek will be here to debate the issues and answer your questions at 3pm today. Post your messages now. LINK VIA:

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Carve up of the human heart: private firms, universities and charities are rushing to isolate and patent human genes before it is even understood what they do.

EXCERPT:  The race for commercial control over the essence of life is threatening to spiral out of control with private firms, universities and charities claiming exclusive development rights over natural processes in the human body at the rate of 34,500 a month.

For the first time, research commissioned by the Guardian reveals the awesome scale of the gene rush, as investors, scientists, entrepreneurs and lawyers use powerful new technology and obscure new laws to isolate and patent the genes which make us what we are - before they even understand what the genes do.

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Beginner's guide to gene patents - What is a patent? etc.

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Agribusiness sows its seeds down on the pharm

EXCERPT: "Biotechnology in drugs is well regulated and well understood.  Ag-bio is less so," says Dave Hales, a biotech consultant at Ernst & Young.

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Guardian leader:  Whose Life is it anyway? - The knowledge economy should be for all

EXCERPT:  Debate is exactly what this issue most needs. As the knowledge economy gathers pace, it is vital that considerations of public interest are built into its regulation through patent law. The time has come to check this revolution by stealth and to call to account the officials who have
presided over it.

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Comment:  The Price of Life -  Jeremy Rifkin on gene patenting

EXCERPT:  The battle to keep the Earth's gene pool an open commons, free of commercial exploitation, will be one of the critical struggles of the biotech century.

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GeneWatch UK's patent research for the Guardian - Wednesday November 15, 2000

Article on methodology plus links to download info on patent applications in PDF format
Applications for patents on human genes
Applications for patents on HIV genes
Applications for patents on chicken genes
Applications for patents on fish genes
Applications for patents on eucalyptus tree genes
Applications for patents on mice genes
Applications for patents on spider genes
Applications for patents on rice genes

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Many more articles - details and links to the following and more at:

What is the human genome?
Interactive guide
Biopirates who seek the greatest prizes:  At the frontier of the gene rush stands a breed of explorer who scours the world for traditional knowledge, then sells it on to the main players...

Why you are first in the great gene race - The rush for rights to your body is under way and already patents have been applied for on a fantastic 127,000 bits of your genes
Your life in their hands:  When you patent a human gene, in what sense is it yours? European
ministers have a chance to discuss the ownership of life when they meet in Munich next week. But they may already be too late ...

Your day has been patented ...:  It's still dark outside, but by the glow of your alarm clock (a luminous bacteria living on a Hawaiian squid has been patented by a US university)...

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