The Human Genome Diversity Project: The Politics of Patents at the Intersection of Race, Religion, and Research Ethics
Queen's University - Faculty of Law
Law & Policy, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 152-188, January 2005
The patenting of human genetic materials provokes wide-ranging misgivings about the appropriate place and scope of intellectual property protections. The issues implicated range from anti-competitive practices in the market, the imposition of limits on biomedical research, increasing costs for health care, research ethics, potentials for racial discrimination, and various violations of human rights. Exploring controversies around the Human Genome Diversity Project, patents on genetic sequences, and patents on higher life forms such as the so-called "Harvard mouse," the authors find that North American patent policy has developed in the absence of necessary political debate. They link this de-politicization to the hegemony of neo-liberal principles most fully demonstrated by the incorporation of intellectual property under international trade negotiations. They point, however, to the recent emergence and increasing audibility of new social movements that seek to reposition issues of intellectual property in larger debates about human rights, distributional equalities, and social justice.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
Date posted: December 30, 2004