Recorded: 30 May 2003
I sometimes write about the patenting issue. But my eyes tend to glaze over, so I suspect many reader's eyes will glaze over too. Patents are an important part of our commercial system, but they only last seventeen years. After seventeen years they are over. I guess it's been more the European scientists who were worried about the genome being locked up with patents and made inaccessible to academic researchers. But it's standard company practice with all reagents, not just the genome, to allow academics to have free use of them, because the companies well understand that they stand to profit from whatever academic researchers may discover. Even if every gene in the genome were patented, I doubt that any company would have done anything to impede scientific research. So I was less exercised about the patent lock up scenario than some people were.
Nicholas Wade received a B.A. in natural sciences from King's College in Cambridge (1964). He was deputy editor of (italics) Nature magazine in London and then became that journal's Washington correspondent. He joined (italics) Science magazine in Washington as a reporter and later moved to (italics)The New York Times, where he has been an editorial writer, concentrating his writing on issues of defense, space, science, medicine, technology, genetics, molecular biology, the environment, and public policy, a science reporter, and science editor. He is the author or coauthor of several books including (italics) LIFE SCRIPT: How The Human Genome Discoveries Will Transform Medicine And Enhance Your Health (2002).
Covering the Human Genome Project for the (italics) New York Times since 1990, Wade has interviewed Watson on various occasions and visited Cold Spring Harbor for the annual Genome symposium.