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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Patented Humans?

To make up for my general sloth this week, I found a rather interesting article concerning the patenting of life. Long story very short, somebody wanted to patent (i.e. claim exclusive rights to) a human-animal hybrid. If this patent had slid, he would have been able to produce said hybrids for his own profit, and would be the only one legally allowed to do so for the next 20 years. Ouch to everyone else.

In the end, the scientist applying for the patent lost the case. The court ruled that the hybrid was "too human to be patentable." However, winning an exclusive patent was not his goal. Instead, his goal was to create a precedent for future human hybrids, which would become inevitable as science progressed.

We already have human chimeras. The government has already allowed a patent on a mouse with a human immune system for medicinal research. "Humanized" animals like this are usually given the OK, but what about non-human things with human brains? How far can we go until something becomes so human that it becomes unpatentable? Hell, human parents might start patenting their kids, just in case they start becoming valuable. They're technically made by people and under the sun.

The article in question brings up some really good points. Science has no ethic; it can and will make human hybrids. If we can patent anything made by man under the sun, including life forms, who's to say that humans will not be patented next? Hell, conspiracy theories are loaded with humans being barcoded. That's actually a very real possibility, what with RFID chips becoming more and more common. Real furries are also slowly becoming more and more plausible. With new advances in science come new meanings of being human.

Just sayin'.

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