Monday, March 3, 2008

Who Owns Your DNA?

Do I own "my" DNA? I'm not sure … I don't own my height or my eye color, so why should I assert a right to possess my genetic information? At the same time, can anyone truly "own" this information? Should I worry that a research institution or a pharmaceutical company might someday tell me that I can not control what I "do" with my genetic information, because they "own" it? These are vexing questions and seldom addressed in blogs on the ethics of genetic research and the future of personalized medicine. Thus, I couldn't resist sharing this comic by Mike Adams, "Biopiracy Patents and the Rise of Intellectual Imperialism (comic)", Sunday, March 1, 2008.

In the article that accompanies the comic, Adams gladly veers off into the art of the alarmist rant: "in the near future, couples who wish to reproduce may be forced to pay intellectual property royalties to wealthy corporations in exchange for the 'rights' to copy their own genes through sexual reproduction". If Adams is right about this one, in the future, the individual members of these "wealthy corporations" will have forgotten that they have or want to have children and grandchildren. Like many rants, however, Adams provides plenty of fuel to start a good discussion; thus, if the comic bores you, read the article.

1 comment:

Steve Murphy MD said...

Great Comic! I hope the author read Next!