genes and patents

Scientists have isolated genes that cause particular diseases and modified genes that alter organisms for particular reasons (for example, to help beneficial plants and animals to survive under harsh conditions). Make an argument as to why businesses that develop modified organisms should be able to preserve their property rights by patenting such organisms. Then, make a counterargument as to why such organisms should not be patentable.

Research the issue online to develop supporting facts and arguments for each position. If you begin with a Google search of “patenting organisms” you will find several articles from institutions of higher education and government organizations that will present a good overview and various perspectives on the issue. Look for URLs ending in “.edu” and “.gov.” Helpful resources specifically for why organisms should not be patentable include Web sites for advocacy groups such as Greenpeace and the Council for Responsible Genetics. You will also want to read the United States Supreme Court decision of Diamond v. Chakrabarty. Be sure to cite your sources.

Prepare an essay of at least 1,500 words. The paper should be 12-point font, Times New Roman, and include a final source list.


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