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{bio,medical} informatics

Saturday, July 14, 2001

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find related articles. powered by google. Wired News Why Is Your DNA Their Secret?

"You probably don't realize that the DNA you carry inside your body is patented by companies, universities and government agencies.

There were more than 25,000 DNA-based patents by the end of 2000, but you aren't allowed to look at some of your own DNA sequences because researchers keep the information private in order to stay ahead of the competition and to sell the information as a trade secret."

"Dr. Robert Cook-Deegan, director of the National Cancer Policy Board and the National Academy of Sciences Commission on Life Sciences, said keeping DNA data secret stops up the flow of information and slows the discovery of potential treatments for disease.

But biotech companies and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office defend themselves by saying that without patents there would be no innovation."

find related articles. powered by google. Science Celera human genome data not Wellcome
[summary - can be viewed for free once registered]

"In this policy forum, Cook-Deegan and McCormack urge that DNA sequence information contained in patents be made publicly available soon after patent applications are filed. This will speed access to valuable data without undermining investment in subsequent development of DNA-based inventions. The authors further suggest that federal agencies and nonprofit funds consider adopting this policy as a condition of accepting their funders; private firms could adopt it as a norm to reduce duplication of effort and to accelerate innovation."

redux [02.27.01]
find related articles. powered by google. The Financial Times Opinion: No price should be placed on the book of life

"Let me be frank here: my view is, and always has been, that the information in the genome is our genetic heritage and should not be profited from directly. It is not for sale. This is a pro partnership, not an anti-business, stance. We want to ensure that the entire world has equal access to the data, so that the potential health benefits are reaped by the many, rather than the few.

As Prime Minister Blair said: "The knowledge contained in the map of the human genome has the power to touch the lives of everyone on the planet." It is for precisely this reason that our commitment should be for the entire world to use this data so the benefits can be realised by all, and major killers such as malaria, tuberculosis, river blindness and leprosy will not be neglected."

find related articles. powered by google. The Economist Science and profit

"ONCE upon a time, pure and applied science were the same. Sir Humphry Davy discovered seven chemical elements, and invented the miner?s safety lamp. Louis Pasteur investigated the properties of molecules, and worked out how to stop milk spoiling. Everybody thought that was admirable. Somehow, things have changed. Today the feeling is widespread that science and commerce should not?must not?mix. There is a queasy suspicion that the process of discovery is in some way corrupted if it is driven by profit."

"Far from compromising science, profit in both these cases - the development of new medicines and the elucidation of the genome?has animated it, and directed it towards meeting pressing human needs. It is a happy marriage. Davy and Pasteur would surely have approved."

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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