Watson on Gene Patents

James Watson has filed an amicus brief in the ACLU-Myriad gene patenting case.

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I agree with Watson. genes

I agree with Watson. genes should not be patented period. It goes against the very basis of the human genome project goals. Let the world use the gene sequence freely and help develop both diagnostic and therapeutic use for the sequences. Then let the use be patented. This way, there will be healthy competition, encourages innovative thinking and better use will emerge for a given sequence.
When companies start hiding the sequence behind a patent application, it stunts scientific research and development.

Does Kevin Noonan really not

Does Kevin Noonan really not know that multiple-gene-based diagnostics is around now, and has been since at least 2007? There are multiple-gene-based panels for LongQT syndrome (the poster child for issues with patents in multigene tests), Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, hearing loss, epilepsy, cancer, and on and on. Just look at the websites for Familion, GeneDx, Ambry Genetics, Emory Genetics Lab, Baylor Genetics Lab, Harvard Partners...

This is a big problem, its been around for half a decade, and will only become more of a problem as time goes on.

James D. Watson is absolutely

James D. Watson is absolutely right with his statement which he supported right from beginning on of the HUGO-project. We should also extend the label "not-patentable" to "non-coding RNAs", microRNAs etc. Patents on natural substances without a specific newly detected use - supported by experimental confirmations - should not be granted in any case.

May I remember Rosalyn Yalow, nobel laureate and inventor of the radioimmunoassay ? She kept this method open to everybody in order not to block research but also to make it available faster to patient's profit. RIA was an open technology and therefore increased the speed of developing diagnostic methods to help the patient.

The greed seems no more to be a privilege of the bankers but also of a few scientists.

I agree with Dr Watson. The

I agree with Dr Watson. The goal of the human genome project was to make genetic information available to researchers and clinicians to benefit humanity. It wasn't for promoting patent rights for the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. I also agree that access to genomic information for all researchers will result in healthy competition and better access to diagnostic and therapeutic processes for all.

Recently, bioethicists have

Recently, bioethicists have argued that people have "rights" associated with organisms isolated from them. Similarly, people have been conferred various rights associated with tissues and cell lines isolated from their bodies. I personally think this is ridiculous, but if people really do have rights with regards to the future use of biological materials removed or isolated from their bodies, then shouldn't ownership of patent rights to genes belong to the people from which they were sequenced rather than to people involved in the sequencing itself? I'm with Watson - and I tend to think this whole debate is driven by the questionable motives of lawyers and ethicists seeking to create work for themselves, rather than any sensible effort to protect the inventions of developers who generate novel products through creative processes.

Respectfully, I do not agree

Respectfully, I do not agree with Jim Watson.
Even now in the era of personal genomics the gene sequence does not teach the patients and his doctor how to use it to benefit the individual.
Classical gene patents from the time of gene discovery usually provided complete information on the cDNA sequence and how to use it to benefit patients in clinical settings: diagnostic, treatment, etc. Should we patent genes now? Definitely not,
only original applications like antibodies, gene therapeutic constructs, etc.
Michael Lerman, M.D., Ph.D.

I tend to agree with Dr

I tend to agree with Dr Watson. I cannot convince Kevin Noonan in the legal language that he understands why gene patents should be avoided. We already have enough unwarranted litigation in the software industry which is not helping the industry but the lawyers. Much of the future manpower will be spent in finding loopholes in the patents or circumventing them rather than for bringing the genetic knowledge to the clinic. The farce that is happening between Oracle and Google or Samsung and Apple should be an eye opener. Science will progress even without human gene patents.

I agree with Dr. Watson. And

I agree with Dr. Watson. And I agree with him being a CEO of bioinformatics company. Not all "private companies" have the same business model. New models are arising and we at Era7 bioinformatics are convinced that Open Source, Open access journals and Open Data ( and of course no patents) is the base to build new knowledge based economic activity and scientific (and social) advancements.

It is very simple.

It is very simple. Discoveries should not be patented. The only thing that can be patented is invention. A gene is not an invention, thus can not be patented.