Chapter 8: The Alchemy of Junk: Patent Law and Non-Coding DNA
8. The alchemy of junk: patent law and non-coding DNA Genius of Junk is the story of how Malcolm Simons turned Junk into gold, enﬂaming one of the greatest controversies of our time – the control and ownership of our genetic material. (‘Genius of Junk’, Catalyst, Australian Broadcasting Corporation)1 GeneType was founded in 1989 by immunologist Dr Malcolm Simons and medical practitioner Dr Mervyn Jacobson. Their website provides this foundation story: [Simons and Jacobson] resolved to prove the non-coding (‘junk’ DNA) region of the human HLA gene complex [the human leukocyte antigen system] on Chromosome 6 is in reality not ‘junk’ but in fact a valuable and highly ordered reservoir of useful genetic information, largely overlooked by the rest of the world. The commercial mission then evolved that GeneType would seek exclusive ownership over access to this important genetic information and, ultimately, to exploit it globally for proﬁt.2 Genetic Technologies Limited (GTG) was the result of a merger in 2000 between the original holding company, the private Swiss-owned GeneType AG, and a publicly listed Australian company, Duketon Goldﬁelds Limited. After the corporate restructuring, GTG set a new goal of conversion to a biotechnology company. GTG was able to obtain broad patents on a range of scientiﬁc inventions arising out of the work of Malcolm Simons. Most signiﬁcantly, the United States Patent and Trademark Oﬃce (USPTO) awarded US Patent No. 5 612 179 to GTG for an invention entitled ‘Intron sequence analysis method for detection...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.