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Patent Ethics

In addition to the Synbio Community’s practical need for a guide to help navigate patent law, we also felt it would be invaluable to invigorate the discussion surrounding the ethics of gene patents. Thus we crafted a gene patent ethics review to complement our more practical guide. This review includes two documents, a full paper on the topic as well as an “at a glance” document for those who want to start thinking about these issues in a less rigorous fashion.

As an introduction, it has been estimated that approximately 20% of the human genome is patented . While this is a generalized statement, most would find this notion, at least in part, unsettling. As synthetic biology is a relatively new field with unprecedented possibilities, indubitably, there is a great debate surrounding gene patenting in moral, practical, and legal domains.

The two documents below seek to elucidate the variety of dilemmas that the synbio-patent interaction has provoked and to hopefully offer some objective commentary and insight for the iGEM and greater synthetic biology community.

Patent Ethics: At a Glance

Ethics of Gene Patenting: Moral, Legal, and Practical Perspectives