Gene Patents

If you are interested in learning about gene patenting, and all of the potential benefits, consequences, and dangers that might ensue from it, it is worth familiarizing yourself with the primary literature. There has been a great deal written about gene patenting. However, most of the readily accessible content is, sadly, lacking in depth. Journalists have been quick to sensationalize the subject, while at the same time ignoring the most interesting (and pressing) questions.

It is a good idea to read a broad range of material on the subject to properly appreciate the complexities of gene patents and the diverse issues which come with it. To that end, here is a list of publications which deal with the topic of gene patents. The list includes books, articles, and statements from both government and non-governmental organisations:

  • Lori B. Andrews and Dorothy Nelkin
    Body Bazaar: The Market for Human Tissue in the Biotechnology Age
    (Crown: New York 2001)
  • John Bryant, Linda Baggott la Velle, and John Searle, eds.
    Bioethics for Scientists
    (John Wiley & Sons: Chichester, West Sussex, England 2002)
  • Sheldon Krimsky
    Science in the Private Interest: Has the Lure of Profits Corrupted Biomedical Research?
    (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.: Lanham, MD 2003)
  • Ted Peters
    Playing God?: Genetic Determinism and Human Freedom
    (Routledge: New York 2002)
  • Mae-Wan Ho
    Why Biotech Patents are Patently Absurd – Scientific Briefing on TRIPs and Related Issues
    Feb. 2001, available at:
  • Nuffield Council on Bioethics
    The Ethics of Patenting DNA
    July 2002, available at:
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and International Bioethics Committee (IBC)
    Report of the IBC on Ethics, Intellectual Property and Genomics
    Jan. 10, 2002, available at: