Abstract

How could something you consider personal and essential to your unique identity, such as your genetic make-up, become commodified? There are precedents for treating blood and tissue samples containing genetic information as commodities. When researchers, institutions and companies consider samples to be commodities, they do not seek to determine the wishes of the patients and their families with regard to sample use, because they may seek to profit from the genetic material in the samples by obtaining patents on the genes. Patient advocacy groups and some governments have challenged gene patents, and have even sought controlling interests in them. Patient advocacy groups and professional organizations supported an attempt to overturn gene patents in the case, Association of Molecular Pathology, et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al. (American Civil Liberties Union 2011). When the Supreme Court handed down its ruling on June 13, 2013 (Supreme Court of the United States 2013), it struck down patents on DNA isolated from nature, but not the patent for cDNA, DNA composed only of exons without introns.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9274
Print ISSN
1063-6145
Pages
pp. 66-79
Launched on MUSE
2015-02-15
Open Access
No
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