Who do genes belong to?

Another equally passionate debate is emerging as to whether or not the global gene pool--the legacy of millions of years of biological evolution and long considered a commons--ought to be enclosed and made the private intellectual property of life-science companies. To date, the U..S. and most European nations have declared that genes and the proteins they code for, as well as living cells, tissues, organs, embryos, and whole species, are potentially patentable subject matter. Other nations and many of the world's leading non-governmental organizations argue that the gene pool is, by nature, a "shared commons" and not reducible to either political or commercial property.

The Hydrogen Economy, Jeremy Rifkin

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