Patents & Other IP

Patents, along with laws and court decisions regarding intellectual property, serve both to constrain and catalyze the development, marketing, and use of human biotechnologies. Two developments in 1980 dramatically influenced the development of biotechnology in general: the U.S. Congress passed the Bayh-Dole Act, which reformed how inventions developed from federally-funded research are managed, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Diamond v. Chakrabarty that living things, including genes, could be patented. More recently, controversies and court cases about intellectual property have included lawsuits by individuals and families contesting ownership of biological tissues and genetic information; challenges by indigenous communities trying to protect traditional knowledge from technological exploitation; disputes about which researchers will be awarded patents on CRISPR gene editing technology; and the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, which ruled that merely isolating genes that are found in nature does not make them patentable.
Biopolitical Times

What might have been the story of the year turned out to be a disappointment. On February 14th, the National Academies delivered a valentine to those who want to commit germline gene editing. Its much anticipated report, Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance concluded that scientists should “proceed with caution.” This was the first time that human germline modification has ever been given a green light by a comparable body – the U.S. National Academies is an influential non-governmental...

Biopolitical Times

The November 2017 issue of Nature Biotechnology included a special focus on “Humans 2.0.” The articles (currently available for free) cover a range of genetic and reproductive technologies.

Standout articles include Amber Dance’s “Better Beings,” which provides an overview of recent germline editing research and explores policy, social, and ethical implications from different perspectives. Quoting CGS executive director Marcy Darnovsky, and scholars Rosemarie Garland-Thomson and Charis Thompson, Dance lays out social justice arguments opposing germline editing...

Aggregated News

In late 2012, French microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier approached a handful of American scientists about starting a company, a Crispr company....

Aggregated News

CRISPR-Cas9 is complicated.

That’s why scientists, entrepreneurs, and journalists like me have spent the past few years reaching for metaphors...