Genome liberation.
February 26, 2002 1:40 PM   Subscribe

Genome liberation. "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 (2 comments total)
i think the genomics field has seen more non-commercial cooperative efforts than many other areas of the life sciences field. the 'golden path' genome browser , for instance, was developed by a university grad student at UCSC and is available for free. it's a preferred tool for many bioinformatics researchers. (it reportedly has a better interface than, say, the Celera system, which is developed by for-profit LION bioscience.)

i've actually been surprised that more non-commercial collaborative efforts haven't emerged in other traditionally inefficient areas of life sciences. there are very few industry standards for electronic submission of clinical trials data to the FDA, for example, and this lack of standardization results in a new drug application (NDA) and approval process that has gotten lengthier as the volume of NDAs has increased. given the FDA's interest in shortening the process and big pharma's interest in having on-patent drugs in the market for greater lengths of time, one would think you'd see more collaborative efforts to streamline the process, but that hasn't really been the case. many people in the drug development segment of the field have been pointing to the genomics discipline as a *model* for collaboration and data sharing.
posted by lizs at 11:43 PM on February 26, 2002

Thanks for sharing your perspective. I found the tone of the piece a bit alarmist but I didn't have the knowledge to either agree or disagree with it (though I could do without the term "biopunk.") Hopefully the other life science fields will get a clue.
posted by homunculus at 2:01 PM on February 27, 2002

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