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Ethics and genetic sequencing: who owns DNA?

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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.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. John Baxter is the senior producer, Angela Decker is the producer and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.