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The sequencing of the human genome is a great scientific accomplishment that opens the door to further scientific inquiry of a sort that would otherwise be impossible. In addition to being passionately interested in the patent issues this research presents, as a legal scholar I have a long-standing interest in the role of intellectual property in interactions between the public and private senators and between universities and private firms in research science, with a focus on biomedial research. However, although the Human Genome Project has provided a rich terrain for exploring these issues, I am puzzled that intellectual property issues have become as prominent as they now are in public discourse regarding the genome project, particularly because patenting DNA sequences has been occurring for years and is certainly not a new practice.


Reprinted with permission from The Genomic Revolution: Unveiling the Unity of Life (2002) by the National Academy of Sciences, Courtesy of the Joseph Henry Press, Washington, D.C.