Patents on random complementary DNA fragments?

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  14 Aug 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5072, pp. 915-918
DOI: 10.1126/science.1502558


The proposal by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to patent products resulting merely from sequencing the human genome is a mistake: at worst, it is wrong in patent law; at best, it relies on deficiencies in law concerning what is "useful" as a requirement for patents. The proposal is symptomatic of a problem besieging biotechnology--attempts to control the raw material of scientific experimentation before research has determined the practical value of such material--that needs curing on many fronts. Corrective measures are proposed for adoption by the Executive branch, the Congress, and the courts.