mopslik writes "A story on National Geographic News cites a study claiming that 20% of all human genes 'have been patented in the United States, primarily by private firms and universities.' While universities hold 28% of all gene-related patents, 63% belong to private firms, with a whopping 2000 patented genes (approximately 67%, or 50% total) belonging to a single firm." From the article: "You can find dozens of ways to heat a room besides the Franklin stove, but there's only one gene to make human growth hormone ... If one institution owns all the rights, it may work well to introduce a new product, but it may also block other uses, including research ..."
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