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Who owns you? Genetics gone mad

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If you read Zechariah Sitchin and similar authors, then you will find the claim that ancient aliens made the human race by genetic manipulation. In other words, they can claim that they own the patent on our DNA. If that claim is true, and I seriously doubt it, they will have a problem trying to enforce it. However, human agencies are now experimenting with DNA, and they have been doing so for several decades. Will they claim to own our DNA? Surprisingly, they are already making that claim after announcing the completion of the Human Genome Project, which mapped human DNA.

According to the final Human Genome Publication (No. 12), published in February 2002, the “First International Conversation on Enviro-Genetics Disputes and Issues,” sponsored by the Einstein Institute for Health and Science, met in Kona, Hawaii. The meeting took place in July 2001 and was attended by more than eighty judges and forty scientists—all there to discuss the legal and ethical ramifications of the Human Genome Project’s results. . . . Shortly thereafter, attendee Justice Artemio V. Panganiban of the Philippines presented a paper with the assigned topic, “Paradigm Shifts in Law and Legal Philosophy,” in which he recounted some of the opinions expressed during the Kona conference.

(Thomas R. Horn, March 2, 2014, NewsWithViews.com)

The suggested topics were genetically modified (GMO) foods and agriculture, bioscience and criminal jurisprudence, biological property, genetic testing, and human subjects in biomedical research. However, discussions ranged far and wide.

Justice Panganiban’s comments provide a summary of the conclusions of that meeting. First increasing knowledge, travel and commerce are leading to globalization, one of the primary goals of the wealthy and powerful elite. Second, they concluded that legal disputes should be resolved by international courts, rather than the jurisdictions where those disputes arise. The representatives of governmental and legal systems owe their allegiance to each other, and not to the people who elected or appointed them. This sounds like the New World Order that two Presidents Bush proposed in recent decades.

In the realm of biological property, we have long recognized that farmers and ranchers own their livestock. However, if a farmer sells you a cow, you now own that cow and all the milk, calves and other results that the cow might produce in the future. In the realm of GMO crops, on the other hand, companies claim to own the seeds, even after they sell them. Monsanto the largest and most visible corporation involved in the dispute over patented seeds. Traditionally, farmers have saved a portion of the current crop in order to plant the collected seeds in future years. With patented seeds, however, this practice is banned by the contract under which the seeds are purchased. In fact, the same restrictions apply to people buying seeds for their home gardens, even though that information is not typically printed on the retail seed packet.

It is a small step to say that farmers who purchase genetically modified cows may not breed them to produce calves, at least not without paying the holder of the patent for a license. And once this step has been taken, how far a leap is it to say that genetically modified humans must pay license fees if they desire to bear children?

Patents of genetically modified organisms were much more limited in past decades than they are now. The abstract of a scientific paper from the 1980s states:

When genetic engineering patent applications from the period before 1982 are compared to applications filed from 1982 to 1985, some development and trends can be observed. Besides the rapid increase in the number of applications, some charges are obvious as to the frequency with which various objects occur in the applications. Microorganisms per se have become more attractive for patent applications, as have the methods to produce various substances (hormones, virus antigens etc.) The most significant decrease concerns methods to produce recombinant DNA and methods to produce ‘man-made’ microorganisms. .

(Sisko Knuth, Tuula Pehu, H.G. Gyllenberg, “Characterization of genetic engineering inventions in patent claims”, 1987 Published by Elsevier Ltd.)

More recently, however, international patenting trends have taken a different direction. While microorganisms were the most widely patented genomes, today seeds are leading the way, and animals are on the edge of patentability. The United States has been leading the world in the number of patents:

. . . during 1990-94, the U.S. science and technology enterprise emerges as the leading producer of inventions in this key technology area. The United States produced 63 percent of the internationally patented genetic engineering inventions created during the period examined—nearly five times that produced by Japan and six times that produced by the United Kingdom..

http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/issuebrf/sib99351.htm

These trends raise increasing concerns about biological diversity, as well as the question of who owns your DNA.

Biological diversity is undergoing a dangerous wave of privatization under the label of Intellectual Property Rights, through the patenting of plants, animals, genes and smaller parts of DNA. A biological patent is a patent relating to an invention in biology. Patents were historically developed to ensure that the inventors could get the financial return and benefits deriving out of the use of their inventions. Patents are guarantees given by government that provide an inventor with exclusive rights to use, sell or manufacture for a set period of time. (20 years in U.S and India).

Earlier living organisms were always considered as discoveries of nature and unpatentable. But in 1980, in the land mark case of Diamond v/s Chakrabarty, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that the living organism, a bacterium that could digest crude oil in oil spils, could be patented. The court observed that patents can only be granted when living products could be seen as human-made inventions.

(Rahul Madhwani, “Patents for Living Organisms” Law Info Wire)

Now, back to the ancient aliens who claim to hold the patent on our DNA. Suppose they do come back and claim ownership of the entire human race. Never mind that most patents last only20 years. A larger question arises: If they did invent us about 5,000 years ago, we have since then run wild. We have mutated, interbred and recombined our DNA to the point where it is substantially different from what they invented. We can only hope that the same thing happens to GMO seeds and genetically modified animals. Otherwise, Monstanto and a few other large international corporations will own our plants our animals and ourselves.

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