Should companies be able to patent human genes?

Total votes: 1683

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

because in the end it is very limiting to scientific discovery. only companies that have the patents for specific genetic code would be able to study and possibly create a cure for some of the most horrendous genetic diseases. drug companies have already spent thousands of dollars trying to patent the code for known genetic diseases so they are the only ones to profit from research done on the genetic code.

posted on Wed, 02/14/2007 - 5:09pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Letting private companies patent human genes makes it harder to find cures because researchers are afraid to research something they worry may be in the private domain.

Besides, the codes for human genes themselves are fairly simple, and are typically gleaned from publically funded research made public over the internet. Taxpayer money funds the hard work, and private companies claim credit (and profit.)

posted on Wed, 02/14/2007 - 11:09pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

hey yes

posted on Thu, 02/15/2007 - 10:37am
KC Vang's picture
KC Vang says:

Ofcorse! Why shouldn't you have the right to patent your own genes. That way no one else can use your genes for anything unless of your approval.

posted on Thu, 02/15/2007 - 11:59am
bryan kennedy's picture

Well, that is actually the opposite of what is happening. Companies are patenting your genes and preventing you from benefiting from the research without a license fee. In an article for the New York Times, Michael Crichton brings up this great example:

For example, Canavan disease is an inherited disorder that affects children starting at 3 months; they cannot crawl or walk, they suffer seizures and eventually become paralyzed and die by adolescence. Formerly there was no test to tell parents if they were at risk. Families enduring the heartbreak of caring for these children engaged a researcher to identify the gene and produce a test. Canavan families around the world donated tissue and money to help this cause.

When the gene was identified in 1993, the families got the commitment of a New York hospital to offer a free test to anyone who wanted it. But the researcher’s employer, Miami Children’s Hospital Research Institute, patented the gene and refused to allow any health care provider to offer the test without paying a royalty. The parents did not believe genes should be patented and so did not put their names on the patent. Consequently, they had no control over the outcome.

posted on Thu, 02/15/2007 - 12:13pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Nobody asked a woman from.. what was it.. the 40's or 50's, if they could keep her cancer cells. It's the most copied cell on the face of the planet.

posted on Fri, 08/12/2011 - 9:55am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

the name of the lady was Henrietta Lacks, and her cells are now called HeLa cells. The problem with her though, is that now her family is still in poverty because John Hopkins Hospital may as well have patented her cells. While the hospital started a multi-million dollar industry with her cells (a world wide industry none the less), her family did not even KNOW that Henrietta's cells had been taken until the book, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", was written.

posted on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:48pm
Matthew's picture
Matthew says:

The person you are speaking of is Henrietta Lacks, and you are correct they never asked her if she consented to the removal of her cells, however, that was before laws that protected people in that situation were even created. In this case though, the gene strands are not created by humans, they are actually created by nature, and you can't copyright nature.

posted on Mon, 12/08/2014 - 1:30pm
tis-chick-s0-fly's picture
tis-chick-s0-fly says:

Yes, why wouldn't you want someone to have the right to patent your own genes, but they should get permission for using your genes though.

posted on Tue, 10/28/2008 - 11:03am
bob daniel's picture
bob daniel says:

kc vang,sadly that is not the case, they are patenting other humans genes

posted on Wed, 02/12/2014 - 12:29pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

WHAT??? it is so bad to patent genes. The gene resarch has been cut short becuse only limited people can work on the genes. The cures to many diseases may not be found becuase the companies are holding them hostage.

posted on Mon, 01/26/2015 - 7:44pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

yes they should be allowed to because it is for science.

posted on Fri, 02/16/2007 - 12:39pm
Labella's picture
Labella says:

Drug companies patent genes for future profit, not for research.

posted on Fri, 08/16/2013 - 2:01am
Angie's picture
Angie says:

science is good for you! So you should keep this.

posted on Fri, 02/16/2007 - 1:24pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:


posted on Sat, 03/31/2007 - 2:31pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

If I were to base my opinion on current laws, I'd say they should have copywrites instead of patents. However, neither should be possible for genes.

posted on Fri, 02/16/2007 - 3:22pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

because its not right.

posted on Fri, 02/16/2007 - 6:20pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Patents are for inventions, not merely discoveries. Patenting genes would be like patenting a new species discovered in some faraway jungle. If you allow genes to be patented (as I guess is already being done), it leads to less innovation and less assistance that could be gained from unrestricted access to such genes.

It's absolutely absurd that this practice has been going on. Genes simply aren't man-made inventions.

posted on Sat, 02/17/2007 - 11:55am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Simon Kato Templar says: If scientific discoveries like modifying a gene's behavior as some have suggested then America belongs to Christopher Columbus who 'discovered' it and he should own its patent.Agree/Disagree? Cheers!

posted on Sun, 01/16/2011 - 2:05am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I dont know enough to vote!!!!!!

posted on Sat, 02/17/2007 - 11:57am
FU's picture
FU says:

Why the hell did you comment then?

Also, genes should not be patented because it would give individual companies a monopoly over certain genes and eliminate competition.

posted on Mon, 02/11/2013 - 11:22am
hjfgkdhfjfgkhvy's picture
hjfgkdhfjfgkhvy says:

i want 2 say it's weird 2 do that & people r living, breathing, human beings!

posted on Sat, 02/17/2007 - 1:33pm
SherryAllen's picture
SherryAllen says:

I believe life is to sacred to try to reproduce any individual.

posted on Sat, 02/17/2007 - 2:15pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i think that the whole woeld is coming to an end because our eco system is failing because of the "man" we should all band together and work twards a better world and a better eco system

posted on Sat, 02/17/2007 - 5:36pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

because they are pieces of whole and for use not abuse.

posted on Sun, 02/18/2007 - 12:36pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Companies shuold NOT be able to do that it is EVIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted on Sun, 02/18/2007 - 4:01pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

hello there i agree with you too!

posted on Wed, 02/21/2007 - 10:42am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Evil is more of a opinion than a fact to me, so it's hard to say what they should or shouldn't do. And so it's hard to judge what should happen that way.

posted on Mon, 02/19/2007 - 11:52am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I am not a market.

posted on Wed, 02/21/2007 - 4:40pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

nobody asked if you are market or not.

posted on Thu, 02/22/2007 - 12:03pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

patenting human genes is the way business works. business is what has helped create our progressive country. at this time patenting seems to be the answer for the study and progression of medicine. what are the alternatives?

posted on Fri, 02/23/2007 - 1:01pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

why should we let companies do stuff to us if we dont want them to

posted on Fri, 02/23/2007 - 1:14pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

how can something that was not invented by a human being be patented? it is ridiculous!

posted on Fri, 02/23/2007 - 9:00pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i dont want something else to be the same me as i am there is only 1 me and that is!

posted on Sat, 02/24/2007 - 10:36am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i dont think anybody should own human geans

posted on Sat, 02/24/2007 - 3:53pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i dont know anything about patenting something in my body

posted on Sat, 02/24/2007 - 4:05pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

because i just dont know enough abut it

posted on Sun, 02/25/2007 - 2:32pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

No, the problems we have now are due to the patenting. Drugs are too expensive to buy, treatments are outrageous, and people who suffer from diseases suffer because the companies holding the patents are making it harder for other companies or scientists to find cures. I would love for one of the people holding a patent to something, get a disease that another company has the patent to and suffer the way we do, not able to do a thing about it.

posted on Sun, 02/25/2007 - 4:42pm
Becca, 11, Milwaukee, Wisconsin's picture
Becca, 11, Milwaukee, Wisconsin says:

I dont think so...:-(

posted on Sun, 02/25/2007 - 5:13pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Companies should be encouraged to invest in science research for funding purposes

posted on Tue, 02/27/2007 - 11:12am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I strongly support stem cell research, however I do not think companies should patent genes. I feel that stem cell research should be pushed more than patenting genes in curing chronic diseases.

posted on Tue, 02/27/2007 - 11:33am
Devender's picture
Devender says:

The reason this is even in question is because they didnt just discover a gene, they isolated it. That had never been done before. I think that patents to help encourage scientist to do more reasearch, but the junk they are doing with the patents is wacked you hear me? WACKED UP. yup. they shouldnt make ppl pay as much money to try to research the gene...that is wrong, and holds back medical research. They were on the right track..they just dont know how to stay there...TT_TT evilness!! getting good medical research and then stopping it...

posted on Wed, 08/01/2007 - 1:55pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

"The reason this is even in question is because they didnt just discover a gene, they isolated it. That had never been done before. I think that patents to help encourage scientist to do more reasearch, but the junk they are doing with the patents is wacked you hear me? WACKED UP. yup. they shouldnt make ppl pay as much money to try to research the gene...that is wrong, and holds back medical research. They were on the right track..they just dont know how to stay there...TT_TT evilness!! getting good medical research and then stopping it..." --Devender

If one agrees with the patenting of genes, then one agrees with the powers the act of patenting a gene gives a person, including have the "right" to own a gene that is in everyone's body and treat it as a product that is owned as he/she gets greedy, etc...

What is shocking is that you can patent something you did not even create. "Isolate" and "found a novel use for" are ridiculous excuses for greed and selfishness. Anyone can "isolate" something or find a "novel" use for something. So, if I find a novel use for some type of food, do I patent it and take that food away from everyone for my self? Finders keepers is a child's game the U.S. government is condoning!

I don't agree with the patenting of any part of nature. I don't care what anyone believes, parts of nature are "the commons"; and, no selfish little finite rat should be allowed take it away for his/herself.

So, if I extract one of my own genes from my own body, that is also found in every other human's body, I can be sued by a researcher, one person, who patented "it." That single researcher can own all of these genes in everyone's bodies. Case in point: the gene that causes breast cancer. Researchers were sued, fined, restricted, etc... from using the gene in search of a cure for BC.

It'll just take us that much longer to find (if, now, we ever find) cures as more unique individuals with great potential are cut off. How many will die waiting (possibly forever)?

Personally, I find this privatization of literally everything utterly disgusting and repulsive. Bottled water companies have even told dirt poor peoples of other countries that they couldn't collect rain water because "they" had the rights to it. What is this world coming to? What is next? I know, but I won't say, as I don't want to give them the idea too soon; but expect it. Whatever it is, they want it.

posted on Wed, 12/23/2009 - 9:46am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

well, what r u trying to say, exactly? that ppl are getting tricked into paying 2 much $ when scientists are using that $ 4 their experiment???

posted on Wed, 08/01/2007 - 2:48pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this is just not right having a patent on human genes. what if the company who has the patent has a money-lover researchers.. work for money and not caring for those who are in danger.. other than that, it's just outrageous to let only one company to be able to make use of that genes. it is, in fact, limiting the discovery of the cure to those chronic diseases. what would happen to the world if a disease strikes the whole world? DO we have to depend on those few researchers in the company (maybe 10 or less of them) to find the cure? It'LL TAKE THEM THOUSANDS OF YEARS!!! why not work together as a united world? with more people working on the same thing, a lot faster it is to be able to find the cure...

posted on Sat, 08/18/2007 - 4:34pm
lmoran's picture
lmoran says:


posted on Mon, 10/20/2008 - 9:04pm
Scott's picture
Scott says:

Yeah its great! :D

posted on Tue, 02/03/2009 - 10:04am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

you can only patent a gene if it's not in its natural form, which is kind of like a new invention. i mean the light bulb is electricity (lighting) not in its natural form, right? plus the patents will all wear out after 20 years.

posted on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 5:45pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

I did a little searching around, and it looks like companies are able to patent natural genes. They don't have to alter them, or build them from scratch; they just have to isolate and purify them (in a "novel" way), and show how the genes could have a "substantial use." The "invention" being patented is essentially the genetic information itself. Usually the publication of a patent allows other inventors to build on an invention, seeing what works and what doesn't, working with other materials, etc. But with gene patents, the publication of the information means that no one else can create products with patented genes for the 20 years that the patent is in effect without paying royalties to the patent holder. That makes some genetic research prohibitively expensive, or even impossible.

The article linked to above begins:

"If you've got at least one kidney, a company called Biogen owns the patent for at least one of your genes. It's called the KIM gene, and the kidney uses it in the process of self-repair.

If you can taste things with your tongue, the University of California own the rights to three more of your genes, called TCP-1, 2 and 3; it's not clear in the patent application what the owners plan to do with their rights to these genes.

And if you have bones that have grown normally since birth, one of the genes that played a role in that normal growth belongs to a company called Sumimo Metal Industries.

As of January 2007, some 20% of the genes that make up human DNA were patented.

Here's a "Beginner's guide to gene patents" from the UK's The Guardian.

Here's a story NPR did on the subject of gene patents about two years ago.

The American Medical Association weighed in on gene patenting, too.

posted on Tue, 02/17/2009 - 6:22pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Genes develope slight mutations, not only from person to person, but from cell to cell within a human body. Genes, whether animal, plant, or human are not invented by people, they are, if you will, a constantly changing force of nature. (Who you believe is "in control" of that nature is up to you.) Nevertheless, I believe that genes should not be patented, mabey they could be copywritten, but whatever hold a company or entity has on a gene, that should NEVER be abused.

posted on Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:58pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

If you create or develop a product K, item Q or an idea (tangible or intangible) Z from the start you then deserve a patent to stop bogus claimants for your creation. That product, good, item or object should ideally be tangible. In case of the genes, they are not isolated entities, They exist and coexist with other genes, in chromosomes, DNA, RNA and other such biochemical containers. In human reproduction, for example we have genes for the blue, brown or green eyes, not in stand alone condition by themselves but in coexistence with other genes, chromosomes, tissues, organs and systems. In order for a child to have blue or brown eyes, the responsible gene(s) have with work with other genes by exchanging (addition or subtraction) gene info with other genes and between different chromosomes which house them. And the chromosomes depend on cells, tissues and organs and systems around them or far away in the body to function. These cells, tissue, organs and systems in turn work together and coexist to ensure a fully efficient working body. So nothing works independently in the body and therefore nothing can be independently taken from the whole body and individually patented. Logic here should dictate that since genes are parts of the system. To patent them you have to patent the whole system and besides who told you that a scientist create a gene? He never created nor developed a gene, he just isolated it and modified it. Once he modifies it, it is no longer a gene, it is another organic synthetic compound. That he can patent, not a gene. What is your say? Blessings and have a pleasant day!! By Simon Kato Templar

posted on Sat, 04/10/2010 - 1:57am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

How does patenting genes work?

posted on Mon, 03/05/2012 - 1:15am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I believe the problem is that the company wants the rights and therefore the money of whatever they can. It is the governments responsibility to make sure that people are limited to what they can and cannot patent, thereby own. A human should not be allowed to own any part of another human, because obviously it is natural and you cannot patent something you did nothing to. I can't just go patent french bulldogs because I own one. Bottom line, we need companies to invest in science, because it is better for the economy. So, instead of allowing companies to own us, we should allow them copyrights to the gene, therefore they can either keep the information secret or release it to the public. By sharing this with investment companies, they get money for research, so they still have the advantage to make a profit. The only patent should be on the technology that uses the genes to detect/fix mutations or problems.

posted on Sat, 04/28/2012 - 9:34pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

well it would help I I know what patent is
would somebody pleae explain what patent genes are

posted on Thu, 05/03/2012 - 1:25am
Jane Doe's picture
Jane Doe says:

If the genes were open for everyone's use and the scientists earned no profit, what gain would they have? They spent millions of dollars working on the gene and they get no money in return? What person would want to do that? The scientist is the one who made the discovery, he should get credit for it. This is a big deal, if you we're the first man or woman to cure cancer wouldn't you like to be recognized?

posted on Sun, 09/23/2012 - 2:57pm
Drug Rehab's picture
Drug Rehab says:

This is just not right having a certain on individual genetics. what if the organization who has the certain has a money-lover scientists.. perform for cash and not looking after for those who are in risk.. other than that, it's just unbelievable to let only one organization to be able to create use of that genetics.Visit this site drug rehab

posted on Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:23am
David O'Neal's picture
David O'Neal says:

Hell no! If I had a disease that was new, and had never been seen before and donated cells for research; and from that research they found a cure and then wanted to charge me an astronomical fee to cure me. Fuck that! You can not rape the public by charging us for things that occur in our own bodies. I may not have stated this very well, but stop trying to make a buck on things that only God should get credit for.

posted on Fri, 11/02/2012 - 3:50pm
Ayush Kumar's picture
Ayush Kumar says:

This topic should be discussed more by govermnets so they can come tgogerther and make a decision.

posted on Wed, 01/30/2013 - 3:13pm
Jason Williams's picture
Jason Williams says:

If they allow this go thought then what is next DNA gets patent then some guy can decied if you can have a child because he hold the patent on DNA and when having a child you are creating DNA. Were does it stop.

posted on Mon, 05/13/2013 - 3:58pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

its absolutely absurd to patent a gene, its something in the human body, does that mean everyone that has that gene has to pay a royalty to live? its ridiculous, over exaggerations aside, all it does is prevent serious public research for cures to genetic diseases to be done, which means not only will it be very very slow to find one, but they may never so much as attempt to find a better alternative to whatever treatment they may or may not find, which seems likely to have high risk of long term sideaffects

posted on Mon, 08/12/2013 - 12:10am
Will's picture
Will says:

Genes should not be patented as, mentioned by Bryan Kennedy in his quotation of Michael Crichton, it restricts access to things which can save many parents from the heartbreak of watching their children dying of a genetic disorder they may not have the financial ability to pay for.

posted on Mon, 10/21/2013 - 8:37am
katie marie gunderson's picture
katie marie gunderson says:

why does it matter...why make such a deal abouthsomething that really doesnt hurt anybodycrystal

posted on Sun, 01/12/2014 - 4:14pm
afopsjojjdijioie's picture
afopsjojjdijioie says:

Researchers say that they can use genomics to enhance the performance of athletes instead of using performance enhancing drugs. Well wouldn't that be wonderful? Let's all double the muscle and therefore double the strength of athletes so we can see them do impossible things. Just wouldn't that be great?

posted on Sat, 06/07/2014 - 5:58pm
afopsjojjdij's picture
afopsjojjdij says:

This may create genetic aristocracy or inequality between people.

posted on Fri, 06/13/2014 - 2:13am
Lovely's picture
Lovely says:

I think companies shouldn’t be able to patent human genes. First of all its your genes, your cells you own that. Companies shouldn’t just take something from you without your consent of it. Its more of an evil thing for them to do that. They really don’t care for you all they want is the credits, making it harder for other companies or scientist ,who actually care, to find cures for the diseases. Think about this. What if you had a new disease that no one has heard of and scientist and or companies wanted an example? Would you like them take some of your cells/genes? They find a cure for it , but in returned they charge you for helping them but wont help you. I know that wouldn’t be okay with me. In conclusion I don’t think companies should patent human cells.

posted on Wed, 09/10/2014 - 7:23pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

1. I don’t think companies should be able to patent human genes. Letting private companies patent human genes makes it harder to find cures—researchers are often fearful to research something that has a chance of being in the private domain.

The codes for human genes are fairly simple as well, and most of the time, collected from publically funded research made public over the internet. Taxpayer money funds the work, and private companies claim profit and credit.

posted on Sun, 02/22/2015 - 12:06pm

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