How Can Scientist Patent Life?

1171 WordsMar 10, 20175 Pages
How can scientist patent life? The truth is that over 4,300 human genes were patented by biotechnology companies until June of 2013. This ethical matter was brought to the Supreme Court’s attention and their decision brought both victory and sorrow and failed to provide clear guidance on this subject. Gene patents have both positive and negative effects on patients, community, scientists, and medical progress. Gene patents aren’t only about the rights of patients, but also about scientific freedom, and advancement in medical research. The question remains: "Is it ethical to patent genes?" What is gene patenting? “A gene patent is the exclusive rights to a specific sequence of DNA (a gene) given by a government to the individual,…show more content…
In 1984, these cells named after Moore as “Mo” were patented by University of California Medical Center. After Moore, had found out about his cell being patented, he filed a lawsuit for a fair share of profits with the organization that patented his cell. In 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled against Moore stating that “a hospital patient does not own rights to tissues taken from his body, even if they prove valuable to scientists” (McLellan). There are many other cases like Henrietta Lacks’ and John Moore’s when their cells were used without their knowledge or consent. One of the important positive effects of patenting genes is that they lead to advancement in medical research. There are many reasons why companies should patent genes. By patenting genes companies will be motivated to continue their research for new DNA sequences which means that new treatments and new vaccines will be created. Therefore, it also creates a competition between biotech companies and medical centers. Patenting genes develops a private industry in the medical field. The scientist that discovered specific types of genes could protect their rights. The private industry would increase medical research since their findings would be protected. Private companies would create a huge profit from the patented genes. It will later lead to great advancement in the medical field because companies can use their profits toward
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