News of the WeekIntellectual Property

HHS Probes Genesis of Gene Sequencer

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Science  25 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5457, pp. 1374-1375
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5457.1374b

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While at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), biologist Leroy Hood's lab developed the key technology behind the DNA sequencing machines and the reagents needed to run them that now are marketed by PE Corp. For the past 6 months, the Department of Health and Human Services has been probing whether Hood's lab used grant money from the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of that research. If it did, then Caltech, which holds the patent on the technology, may improperly have received royalties from sales of the machine to government researchers. Hood and Caltech vigorously deny that NSF money was used.