Stories tagged Michael Crichton

Science fiction writer Michael Crichton died on Tuesday, November 4. He is famous for such books as The Andromeda Strain, The Terminal Man. And Jurassic Park. In recent years he became an outspoken critic of global warming, pointing out what he saw as the unscientific nature of the debate and the rush to solutions which he argued would do more harm than good.

Feb
14
2007

Help! Patent attack.: Somebody patented my face and I can't get it off.
Help! Patent attack.: Somebody patented my face and I can't get it off.

For once I agree with Michael Crichton. Allowing companies to hold patents on parts of the human genome is a very bad idea. Crichton wrote a great editorial in Feb. 13th's New York Times illustrating why human gene patents are such poppycock. It is a short read but it really got my blood boiling.

I was surprised to find out that one-fifth of the the human genome has already been patented by companies in the US. But a couple smart politicians, Xavier Becerra, a Democrat from California, and Dave Weldon, a Republican from Florida (yes Gene, I do think science and politics should mix) are introducing legislation that will stop this.

“We seek simply to fix a regulatory mistake,” Rep. Becerra said. “Genes are a product of nature; they were not created by man, but instead are the very blueprint that creates man, and thus, are not patentable. Gene patenting would be the analogous equivalent to patenting water, air, birds or diamonds.

Some people think that patents cause competition between companies that results in more active research. While others think that human gene patents actually inhibit research and are morally wrong. Tell us what you think below or vote in our poll, Should companies be able to patent human genes?

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