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selling gene pools

A slightly unsettling (creepy even maybe?) Salon article:

The newest resources "discovered" in Estonia are the genes of its 1.4 million citizens. The country's government and a Silicon Valley start-up called EGeen International are treating the Estonian gene pool as a commodity to be exploited for medical research and profit.

EGeen owns the exclusive commercial rights to data from the Estonian Gene Bank Project. In March the bank will begin a full-scale effort to collect blood samples and medical histories that will help scientists understand Estonians from the inside out.

Selling exclusive access to their gene pool? That sounds quite ridiculous. Setting aside the ethical implications, we could just question the issue of "gene ownership". Aren't my genes my genes? The mix between biotech and "free markets" is certainly creating some strange creatures. And just wait for nanotechnology to be a real force...

Categories: science
Posted by diego on March 10 2003 at 8:08 PM

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