Ethics and genetic sequencing: who owns DNA?
You know how we talk about Columbus "discovering" the New World? How can you "discover" a place where lots of people already live?
Now turn to an example in the human body: a researcher "discovers" a new gene sequence in humans; that's news to the world. But it's not new to nature, and that was the crux of the long legal argument over the patenting of human genes.
Think about it: if you want medication or even investigation of those genes--in your own body--you might have to pay royalties to the patent owner.
Genetic law expert Jorge Contreras takes us deep into the legal and scientific realms in his book The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA.
The author visits to outline the thinking at the far edge of science and the law.