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by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 06/08/2007

jimsnail writes “J. Craig Venter and the Institute that bears his name are again moving into new territory in the field of genetics. Genetic patents, that is. They are seeking a broad patent that would give them ownership of a ‘free living organism that can grow and replicate’ constructed entirely from synthetic DNA. The ETC Group is challenging the claim. ‘Scientists at the institute designed the bacterium to have a “minimal genome”–the smallest set of genes any organism can live on. The project, which began in the early 2000s, was partly a philosophical exercise: to help define life itself better by identifying its bare-bones requirements. But it was also fraught with commercial possibilities: if one could reliably recreate a standardized, minimal life form, other useful genes could be added in as needed for various purposes.’”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.