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A plea to share genomic data

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Part of DNA sequence – prototypification of complete genome of virus.

Anna Laakman, an associate professor of patents, bioethics and public health at Lewis & Clark Law School, urges that a legal framework be established to encourage sharing the vast quantities of genomic data  being produced. The aim would be to make it easier for a wider range of researchers to share this information.

Unfortunately, she  writes, recent “U.S. Supreme Court rulings have cast doubt on the patentability of genomic discoveries, and may have inadvertently undermined socially productive data sharing efforts. Researchers may be less likely to share socially productive data without guarantee they can make money off of their work and discoveries.”

“The Court reasoned that eliminating patents on human genes and on clinical correlations between genes and disease would make information publicly accessible and allow for market competition. But absent patent protection, developers of complex, computer-implemented tests have elected to protect their data and methods as trade secrets instead.”



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