David Botstein on Gene Patenting: GTG Patents All Non-coding DNA
  David Botstein     Biography    
Recorded: 28 May 2003

Well, we’ll see how they’re enforced. I mean every year—every six months—there’s another scare. And by and large they have been scares so far. And we’ll see. I think that the power of an individual little company to hold everyone hostage has been tested a number of times and so far the company is on the short end of the stick. That business plan, the hostage taking business taking plan hasn’t worked very well in the past. And I think that in the end the only really good way to make money is to make something that people actually want and not prevent other people from making things unless they pay you a toll.

David Botstein is a prominent geneticist whose advocacy for gene mapping was crucial in laying the groundwork for the Human Genome Project. Botstein received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan for his research on bacteriophage synthesis. As a member of the MIT faculty he continued working with phage P22 DNA and discovered many bacterial and yeast genes. He served as Vice President of Science at Genentech before becoming professor at the Stanford School of Medicine where he led in sequencing the first large eucaryotic genome.

On July 1, 2003 he was appointed as Director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University. At Princeton he will continue to expound upon genome projects, explore the relationship between genes within the genome, and uncover how diseases like cancer alter the expression of genes.

Botstein researched at the CSHL while on sabbatical from 1974-1975. At the 1986 CSHL symposium on Human Genetics he played a crucial role in advocating for the Human Genome Project. While serving on the National Research Council Committee he emphasized that money be laid aside to fund the sequencing of other simpler organisms with which the human genome can be compared. Like Jim Watson, he has passionately supported the Human Genome Project since its inception.