Document Type

Sophomore Award Winner

Award Date

Fall 2012

Course Name

Literary Explorations I


Dr. Leah Kind


Genes and cellular lines are two of the most patented objects in the natural world. Genes, the building blocks of the human body, contain approximately 30,000 different sequences of genetic code, twenty percent of which is patented (Gene Patenting). Multi-billion companies like Microbiological Associates hold hundreds of cellular patents derived from human bodies (Skloot 101). Scientists, drug and research companies, and even genetic and cellular donors all want sole ownership over genes and cell lines that make them money, and will viciously fight in court when they believe their rights have been infringed. Sole ownership of cells and genes, while motivating the private sector to fund research, slows scientific progress by damaging collaboration, raising the question of whether it’s ethical for business interests to dictate biological ownership. While many consider it ethical to better society by taking this ownership approach, evidence proves this method is flawed. Genetic and cellular patents detract from the beneficial nature of medicine and science, limiting the possibilities of progressive research.



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