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PATNEWS: Some nice articles on patenting of "third world" genes (fwd)

  ---------- Forwarded message ----------
  Date: Wed, 8 May 1996 22:56:51 -0400
  From: Gregory Aharonian <srctran@world.std.com>
  To: patent-news@world.std.com
  Subject: PATNEWS: Some nice articles on patenting of "third world" genes
  !19960509  A nice article on patenting of "third world" genes
      The May 2, 1996 issue of Nature magazine, pages 11-14, has a group of
  articles dealing with the patenting problems involving pharmaceutical
  companies obtaining (and potentially patenting) the genetic material of
  groups of individuals, in particular, groups of people in developing countries
  that because of history and/or geography, share a common biological feature
  that relates to some genetic benefit or problem.
      For example, last year the US Department of Health and Human Services
  received a US patent on a human t-lymphotropic virus (HTLV-I) derived from
  the Hagahai people of Madang Province in Papua New Guinea.  The patent
  attracted the attention of RAFI, the Rural Advancement Foundation
  International, which is trying to have more controls imposed on the Human
  Genome Diversity Project.  One of the co-inventors, Carol Jenkins, has
  agreed to donate her 50% share of the royalties to the Hagahai people.
      One article deals with India, with which its huge population, has 
  attracted many researchers who would like to gather blood and cell samples.
  Indian government agencies are trying to developing laws to regulate the
  flow of such materials out of the country, and to share in the benefits.
  This in turn has attracted the attention of many in the country, who work
  with the opposition political party to frustrate attempts to amend Indian
  patent laws (the Patent Act of 1970) to bring it in line with GATT, which
  India has subscribed to, partly by using this issue of human genetic samples
  being taken from India.
      The ethical issue of patenting and genetics is still unresolved in many
  parts of the world, and even in the United States, some pending patents will
  introduce new, and in one case, more profound complications into these
  discussions.  Coupled to the billion dollar profits to be made with a new
  drug derived from sampled blood and cells, the desires of developing
  countries to share in these profits, and the controversies should be around
  for a long time (probably as long as it will take for the software patenting
  people to do the right thing with their controversy).
      Anyways, it is a nice set of articles.
  Greg Aharonian
  Internet Patent News Service