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In May 2016, scientists announced a controversial plan to create synthetic human genomes from scratch. The paper outlined an ambitious plan to build human genomes with various, medically relevant properties. But the overall description of the project was vague, leaving many with questions about the project’s aims, such as “Would the project make it possible to patent a human genome for the first time? And are the scientists involved in the project contemplating this?”
The short answers to both those questions are “probably” and “yes, they definitely are.” But if the project is successful, it won’t just affect how genetics research is conducted. It would mean also that the world could end up with a patent on the genetic blueprint for a human being.
For many researchers, that’s a distressing thought. Patents aren’t necessarily bad for science, but in at least one instance, patents on two human genes held by one firm impeded research and made testing for an important cause of illness almost impossible.
Read full, original post: How scientists could patent the genetic blueprint for a human