The word patent is often in news for one or the other reasons. Of the some well known patent rows like Basmati Rice, Turmeric,
Apple v/s Samsung, Novartis etc. there is one more addition to list! Your own DNA.
First have a look what is Patent and DNA?
Patent is an exclusive right granted to an inventor to economically exploit his invention for certain period of time (20 years) for disclosing is his or her invention.
DNA (Deoxy Ribonuclic Acid) is called Instructions or codes of life just like codes in a computer program. It is DNA which determines you will be human, elephant, rose plant or bacteria. It is the DNA which gives difference of traits like fragrance of rose, your skin colour, height, colour of eyes and even Intelligence. Children inherit their parents DNA.
Now coming to real story! Reason for writing this post.
A biotech company Myriad Genetics hold the patents for two DNA sequences (genes) BRCA1 and BRCA2 linked to breast and ovarian cancer. Myriad isolated the gene and developed a test, which may cost around $3,000-$4,000 for assessing one’s risk for cancer. The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) and others challenged the patent. Just 2 days back, US Supreme Court revoked Myriad’s DNA patents. AMP argued that Myriad had been granted patent on the parts of human body which are product of nature, hence not patentable. But court also ruled that artificial DNA or cDNA can be patented.
Jonas Salk known for his discovery and development of Polio vaccine was asked “Who owns this patent?”, Salk replied, “No one. Could you patent the sun?
What if the decision would have been reverse and that to some 80-90 years back in history during the times of Thomas Alva Edison? This is a fascinating idea! Mr. Edison was holder of 1093 patents in his name from electric bulb to motion pictures. Now just Imagine, I got the patent for the DNA sequence of Mr. Edison responsible for his brilliance which earned him all his patents and great fortune. Now I can sue Mr. Edison for infringing my patent because he is using my patent for his own benefit, and all his invention and fortunes will be mine.
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