Creating and Patenting Life Forms

Craig Venter, the guy who paid to sequence the genome, is at it again. This time, a team of 20 scientists including a Nobel Laureate have created an artificial chromosome from first principles, using artificial chemicals. They intend to introduce this into the cell of a bacterium on whose genetic makeup the whole thing was based off. The cell will be taken over, and a new species will be created. Technically.

As a post script the article mentions that Venter’s lab is filing for a patent for the newly created life form. Patents never seemed like too good an idea to me. Patenting a life form seems downright ridiculous, and very dangerous.

Cool stuff, and I would cheer the Venter Lab on, if not for the patent, and the unbridled, bombastic script that issues from them, a sample of which follows:

“We are not afraid to take on things that are important just because they stimulate thinking,” he said. “We are dealing in big ideas. We are trying to create a new value system for life. When dealing at this scale, you can’t expect everybody to be happy.”

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One Response to Creating and Patenting Life Forms

  1. Create a new value system (because the current one is messed up?), or create a new value system by inventing a bacterium and then declaring it a giant leap for mankind-type of statement?Please.
    Just vent(er)ing some frustration.Since when did Bacteria subscribe to value systems?
    BTW,I’m somebody you know.Just passing by.