oa South African Journal of Bioethics and Law - No one 'owns' the genome : the United States Supreme Court rules that human DNA cannot be patented : research

Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1999-7639



Modern biotechnological innovation has been fertile ground for profound and critical debate - and policy consideration - regarding its associated legal, social, ethical and moral issues. Patent laws exist to encourage the progress of science, innovation and discovery, but battle to provide a clear and stable regulatory framework. In a decision that looks set to shape the future, the United States Supreme Court recently ruled that isolated human DNA cannot be patented. It is argued that this decision will have a potentially serious negative impact on future biotechnological innovation and discovery, and that the more expansive European approach to 'gene patenting' is sounder and enables progress.

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