The Legal Dangers of Gene Modification

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This site details a miscarriage of justice which, even if it occurred only once suggests strongly the utterly demented view courts have of patent and copyright.

When you patent a gene, particularly a gene for a plant whose material is spread by pollinators other than humans, you cannot reasonably expect that the gene will remain bound to its original planting ground. Already we've seen several genetically modified plants "escape" from their original founding ground.

And, in fact, does it make any sense at all to allow patents on genes? After all a gene is not something anyone can own, and particularly not when genes spread through an aegis beyond human control.

In the realm of intellectual property rights, our legal system is utterly demented: it grants nearly eternal rights to works of authors and creators of works of art and then supports idiotic lawsuits such as the one detailed in the links above.

I am not a sensationalist regarding Genetic engineering. There are tremendous risks involved and tremendous potential benefits; however, I find the idea that I could be sued if some came around and discovered the corn in my field had a "patented" gene in it absolutely horrifying. The small farmer is already under enough pressure for the industrial farming business, there's no need to add this to it.

It's amazing how, too often, it is easy to overlook some of the astounding ramifications of our own twisted systems of logic. Among the most twisted strains are the theories of who can own what. In point of fact, on Earth, if you can't eat it, you can't really own it. You can take care of it, it can own a piece of you, but lacking portability, there are precious few things you can own. The European theory of land ownership, for example, is ludicrous in the extreme and made more so by the extremes to which it is brought in American jurisprudence.

Every material thing is simply a loan for our time on Earth--our sense of ownership of it deprives us, in a a very real way, of our sense of dependence upon providence. It deprives us further of focus on the One Thing that matters. We endlessly toil and preserve "what's ours" with no real sense of the fact that "you can't take it with you." Even our bodies are not our own--but sheer gift and grace--given by God and returned ultimately to Him should we find ourselves in the state of grace at death.

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Your readers might like to know that the Center for Food Safety has published a study of some 100 farmers who have gone through some of the same kind of challenges to their farming.

Our site also details the legal challenges we have made to Monsanto since 1999 on their patenting of genetically modified crops.

Jaydee Hanson
Policy Analyst, Center for Food Safety



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 3, 2007 7:40 AM.

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