Should companies that identify genes in the human genome be allowed to patent them? Assignments | Essay Help Services

For your paper, you will respond to the question at hand, choosing one side of the issue to argue in favor of. Cite specific examples from the resources given. You may find your own resources as well, however, be sure to cite them in your works cited. Make sure to fully answer the question.

Papers should be typed, double spaced, size 12 Times New Roman or similar fonts. Papers are generally 2 pages in length and typically should not be longer than 3. Half a page probably won’t cut it—these are complex issues!


With the advent of genetic technology and the ability for humans to manipulate, modify and alter the genomes of various organisms has come an interest in being able to patent such changes. When a company patents something, they own the rights to it for a limited amount of time—no one else is allowed to produce, sell or use their patented item or object during that time period without the companies’ permission.

When the object in question is a new type of seat belt latch for a car, or a better zipper pull, most people find it to be an acceptable way to reward innovators. But what if the item in question is a living organism?

Numerous companies now own the patents to living organisms like “Zebra Glo-Fish,” sold in pet shops. Glo-fish are Zebra danios that have been modified to include a spliced gene from a bioluminescent jellyfish to make their colors neon bright. No other company or person is allowed to sell or breed these fish—they are owned by the company that engineered them.

Taking this a step further… some companies have been seeking the right to patent genes, including human genes. Should companies that identify genes in the human genome be allowed to patent them? Some companies feel that their work in identifying these genes ought to be rewarded.

Where do you stand on this? Is it acceptable to patent living things, or their genes? How might live-organism or gene patents affect Americans and our society? Explain your reasoning using examples from the articles.


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