Genetic engineering has come a long ways now form it's humble beginnings with Dolly to artificial organs, it's only a matter of time before we are making brand new animals to use for circuses, sports or pets. Of course companies would want to patent the design they put years into making but considering that animals are infinitely complex in design how could they? Ignoring all the problems with playing god, how would the genetic engineering companies patent a biological blueprint and have it hold up in court?

  • $\begingroup$ Copyright is the wrong concept. Ask about life patents. $\endgroup$
    – o.m.
    Apr 22, 2016 at 5:33

1 Answer 1


Actually, it's already happening today.

Pharmaceutical companies often ask for people with certain conditions to participate in studies, etc. in order to help that company develop a drug or method of treatment. What the participants don't realize however is that they are unwittingly signing away the rights to their own DNA.

What some companies are doing now is identifying certain genes which cause an illness, or even a benefit and then patent them as the "discoverers".

What this means is that each of us are walking around with genes in our DNA which a company owns.

There have been trials over how a company can possibly own our DNA, and their argument was that they are the ones who put the effort into discovering that that particular gene causes an issue or benefit.

I'm sure this will become a much, much bigger deal in the near future.

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    $\begingroup$ "What the participants don't realize however is that they are unwittingly signing away the rights to their own DNA." Talk about signing away your soul! $\endgroup$ Apr 22, 2016 at 2:13
  • $\begingroup$ Dunno about other nations, but in the US Constitution, the authority of Congress to grant copyright protection extends to inventors and authors. When it comes to human DNA, no company can claim to be the author. $\endgroup$
    – EvilSnack
    Apr 22, 2016 at 2:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, that is true. $\endgroup$ Apr 22, 2016 at 13:30
  • $\begingroup$ I do believe AndreiROM has it right. This is a grey area between protecting inventors and having rights to things that may not actually be yours. Our world is exploring how that grey are should be shaped every day. One excellent case is the case of Monsano GMO corn. Their corn had pesticides built into the DNA. However, they flowered , crossbred with nearby fields, and it retained the change. Monsano went out and sued farmers for patent infrignment beause their plants polinated with Monsano's patented plants. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Apr 22, 2016 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon Just for the sake of trying to squelch internet misinformation, Monsanto has never sued farmers for mistakenly planting their patented plants, only when farmers have intentionally planted them. Sources: NPR, Wikipedia $\endgroup$ May 20, 2016 at 22:08

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