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Human Genome News, April-June 1996; 7(6)

The text below is a sidebar accompanying the Santa Fe Meeting's ELSI Report.

Patenting and Database Controversies — Does the One with the Most Sequence Really Win?

Rebecca Eisenberg (University of Michigan Law School) raised intriguing questions about the proper roles of government and industry in genomic research. One consideration is who stands to benefit (and to lose) rom the private appropriation of genomic information. Controversy, she noted, is particularly acute over the intellectual property rights in large-scale cDNA sequencing data.

Genomics research involves a major commitment of both federal and private funds, and both groups have an interest in making use of the wealth of new discoveries, she noted. In addition, the implications for human health make public access crucial. Access also affects the interests of the young biotechnology industry, as well as the more established pharmaceutical companies. Eisenberg analyzed possible motivations behind recent steps taken by Merck & Co., Human Genome Sciences, and Incyte to develop databases of human gene sequences. The take-home lesson, she concluded, may be that the value of a rich public domain to both the public and private sectors has been underestimated. An article on Eisenberg's project will appear in a future issue of HGN.

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Human Genome Program, U.S. Department of Energy, Human Genome News (v7n6).

Human Genome Project 1990–2003

The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international 13-year effort, 1990 to 2003. Primary goals were to discover the complete set of human genes and make them accessible for further biological study, and determine the complete sequence of DNA bases in the human genome. See Timeline for more HGP history.

Human Genome News

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