The Debate Over Gene Patenting Essay
2731 Words11 Pages
In June 2000, the publicly funded Human Genome Project (HGP) and the private firm Celera Genomics Inc. announced that they had completed sequencing the human genome. This unprecedented accomplishment is expected to enable doctors to diagnose, treat and even prevent numerous genetic diseases. As these two entities worked on sequencing the human genome, there was also a separate and less publicized race to patent as many human genes as possible.
The patenting issue gained some attention when President Bill Clinton and Prime Minster Tony Blair jointly called for the release of raw genetic data into the public domain (CQ 405). I will argue in this paper that the aggressive competition among biotechnology firms to patent genes is…show more content…
Ideally a patent is not supposed to give monopoly over an idea to an inventor unless the idea is useful to the public. Thus, a gene should be shown to be capable of being useful to the public in the form of new products or treatment, before anyone should be able to patent it.
When thinking about patents, many of us wonder how anyone can patent genes that all of us have carried since we were born. U.S patent law allows inventors to claim new and useful machines, processes, and objects as proprietary creations. This privilege, however, has not been extended to naturally occurring phenomena, such as elements in the periodic table. However, a legal precedent now allows human genes to be patented. In order to study genes, scientists have to isolate and manipulate genes in the laboratory. Thus, in the eyes of patent law, genes are treated just as any other man-made chemical ( Regalado 50). On the strength of this logic, the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has been issuing patents to genetic discoveries since the 1970s. Human growth-hormone, insulin, erythropoietin-protein drugs with billions of dollars in combined sales are all manufactured using patented DNA sequences.
The patenting race takes advantage of the same computer technology that made the sequencing possible. Companies seeking patents have been using automated DNA-sequencing machines to identify genes easily and cheaply. At the time when they file for the patents,
Essay about The Global Warming Debate
1435 Words6 Pages
"Global warming is not a conqueror to kneel before - but a challenge to rise to. A challenge we must rise to."
-- Joe Lieberman
Global warming is a controversial environmental topic in today’s society. Global warming is when greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and nitrous oxide) act as a blanket that insulates the earth and prevents heat from escaping into space, which in turn causes the global temperature to rise. This “greenhouse effect” is a naturally occurring phenomenon; without it, the earth would be too cold for any life to inhabit. However, due to fossil fuel burning and other human activities, there is an excess amount of greenhouse…show more content…
The majority of scientists link this temperature rise to the increase in carbon dioxide; however, other scientists argue that the temperature rise is a part of a natural fluctuation. In 1997, delegates to an international summit on global warming in Kyoto, Japan approved an agreement called the Kyoto Protocol, which requires 38 industrialized nations to limit greenhouse gas emissions. These nations must accept legally binding limits, which will reduce greenhouse emissions to levels that are an average of five percent below the emission levels of 1990. The reduced levels are to be achieved between 2008 and 2012 (http://encarta.msn.com). PRO ARGUMENT Greenhouse gases reduce the escape of the earth’s infrared radiation into space. This “greenhouse effect” causes the earth to maintain warm temperatures. Due to human activities, the earth’s temperature has steadily increased, thus causing global warming. This rise in temperature leads to climate change, an increase of infectious diseases, droughts, changes in precipitation, the rising and warming of oceans, and glacial melting.
One effect of climate change is the spread of infectious diseases, such as vector-borne ones. Vector-borne diseases are illness transmitted to humans directly from insects or animals (http://www.nas.com/nwrc/epireprt/epivec.htm). Some examples of vector-borne illnesses are hantavirus, rabies, dengue fever, river blindness, Lyme disease, sleeping