In May 1998 the European Parliament, after almost a decade of debate passed new legislation on patenting for biotechnology. The new law, based on a proposal by the European Commission, however, excludes all cloning and the patenting of human embryos. It will also not be possible to gain a patent where modification of the genetic makeup of animals causes suffering. The long period of debate in Europe has reflected the divergent views and needs of consumer, producer and environmental groups in its various Member States. The debate in Europe mirrors similar discussions and developments in other parts of the world where the fears from and successes of biotechnology have reflected different priorities and challenges posed by the technology. Most studies of biotechnology have examined the experiences of the current technological leader, the United States, with those of other industrialised countries. An attempt has also been made by several studies (e.g. Sharp, 1985 and 1996; and Senker (ed.) 1998) to understand the dynamics of innovation and the role played by multinationals and smallscale firms in the race to commercialise biotechnology. Another approach has been to examine the structures established by developing countries (example, Sasson 1993 and Komen and Perseley, 1993), or sectoral analyses of biotechnology (for example, Brenner, 1992 and Chattaway, 1998). In contrast, this book attempts to present a more general view of the development of biotechnology, while trying to understand the interaction between all these different elements. In writing this book, I have attempted to create an understanding...
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