Ensure 'Open Access' to Genetic Data

Anna George | The Conversation | May 10, 2013

It’s difficult to find useful data on the number and scope of gene patents but a recent report from Weill Cornell Medical College in the United States delivers an interesting analysis. It estimates that almost all the human genome has been claimed through a series of complex and overlapping patents.

The most contentious genetic patents are those that are simply isolated and remain identical to DNA in the body. This category of patents blocks access to the original DNA and constrains innovation and research.

The legal status of such gene patents is now being addressed through test cases in the United States and Australian courts.