"Life science researchers -- even those who work in academic settings -- are finding that corporations are just as eager to patent the tools as they are the data, and in many cases, universities are bending over backward to let the private sector have its way. As a result, a growing number of bioinformatics researchers are beginning to look to the free-software and open-source software movements for inspiration in their quest for bio freedom."
posted by homunculus
on Feb 26, 2002 -
Why Genetic Engineering Is So Dangerous
Environmentalist/biologist Barry Commoner's essay in the February issue of Harper's magazine warns about the unknown dangers of genetic engineering.
"...billions of transgenic plants are now being grown with only the most rudimentary knowledge about the resulting changes in their composition. Without detailed, ongoing analyses of the transgenic crops, there is no way of knowing what hazardous consequences may arise. But,
given the failure of the Central Dogma, there is no assurance that they will not. The genetically engineered crops now being grown represent a huge uncontrolled experiment; its outcome is inherently unpredictable.
Our project is designed to help develop effective public understanding of the dangerous implications of this critical predicament."
He asserts that the "Central Dogma", the basis for the Human Genome Project, was known to be flawed prior to the inception of the $3 billion program. Should we be amused/impressed or very worried when we read about pig/spinach crosses and the like?
Related article here
posted by martk
on Jan 25, 2002 -
Last week I was watching a Nova program on PBS called 'Cracking the Code of Life'
, which brought to my attention a disturbing fact about the process of mapping the Human Genome; private companies have applied for patents for gene sequences that they've mapped. Many of these patents were applied for before the government began the Human Genome Project
. Although the patent office has put these applications on hold until it figures out what to do with them, many drug companies an researchers won't work with a gene sequence
if there is a patent application outstanding. You can get involved yourself by petitioning against patents on life
posted by Sal Amander
on May 1, 2001 -