Gene patents have often resulted in companies having sole ownership of genetic testing for patented genes. Unknown. Doing things for the common human good can only take a business so far. And we have plenty of evidence today that gene patents are bad practice, harmful, and dangerous. Gene patents might have looked reasonable 20 years ago, but the field has changed since in ways nobody could have predicted. Once granted a gene patent, the holder of the patent dictates how the gene can be used, in both commercial settings, such as clinical genetic testing, and in noncommercial settings, including research, for 20 years from the date of the patent. Gene patenting breaks all sorts of long-standing rules about what is protectable, and it does so with no countervailing benefit. This can create delays in a diagnosis and sometimes patients may only have days to get started on their treatments. Gene patenting is the practice of allowing a research company to patent specific gene sequences that are found within the human body. Gene patenting opponents argue that there is no more fundamental product of nature than the genes found inside our own bodies, and therefore they are not patentable. What would be the impact on the economy if gene patenting was banned? Some of you may follow me on Twitter or on Facebook and in which case you may have seen that I have been talking about Gene Patenting with the operator of Genetic Engineering Network’s twitter. Yes, if they feel it is vital for the public good, and the patent holder is being too restrictive. The pros and cons of gene patenting show that there is some potential for good, but some potential for some really bad events occurring as well. Proponents of gene patents assert that once a gene is removed from the body and manipulated in any way it qualifies as a "composition of matter" which is legally patentable. Companies that hold gene patents hold the rights to test for those specific genes. Research into genes is thought to be the next great medical frontier, but to achieve greatness within this field, there must be profitability. First and foremost let me put this out here – we come from polar opposite views on Genetic Engineering and GMOs, however for the most part we had a polite discussion on a controversial topic … Another, less rarefied argument is that such patents are actually counter-productive. Ms. Parthasarathy, however, asserted that one thing that might be getting lost in the gene patenting debate was the impact of gene patents on "the culture of science."


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