• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Propertius on A Hypothesis
    William on A Hypothesis
    William on A Hypothesis
    Propertius on A Hypothesis
    Propertius on A Hypothesis
    insightanalytical on Happy Fourth of July!
    William on Happy Fourth of July!
    Propertius on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    Propertius on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    William on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    Propertius on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    Propertius on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    William on Focusing on the Wrong Thi…
    riverdaughter on And so it begins…
    lililam on Somewhat Brief Reflections
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    July 2022
    S M T W T F S
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
    31  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Now That We’re At Peak, How Fast Will Civilization Collapse Be?
      Last week I wrote an article about the future of civilization, collapse centered around a graph from “Limits To Growth.” I spent a fair bit of time staring at this graph yesterday, and I want to return to it, because it says some very important things about what’s coming up over the next decades. The first thing to understand is that the future is, as Willia […]
  • Top Posts

Patenting Parts of People

The ACLU just started a lawsuit saying that patents of human genes are invalid. Specifically, it’s about two breast cancer genes, BRCA1 and 2, but the implications extend to the principle of the thing. And it’s about bloody time.

To understand the merits of the case, consider two parallel situations.

a) Someone removed a strip of skin from your forearm (surgically, with anesthesia, of course), carefully dissected out the different layers, labelled them, and filed the whole thing away in a scientific exhibit. Do they get a patent? No. You can’t patent something you didn’t invent.

b) Someone removed a microscopically small piece of skin from your forearm, carefully noted all the different components down to the molecules, labelled them, and filed the whole thing away. Do they get a patent? Yes. Apparently, so long as it’s invisible, you can patent things you didn’t invent.

At this point it seems quaint to insist that patenting life, so long as it’s in very small pieces, is wrong. We’ve grown inured to the travesty. It is, after all, a very lucrative travesty.
Continue reading