Deconstructing the Myth that 20% of the Human Genome is Patented:Gene Patents and the Future of Whole Genome Sequencing

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A 2005 article in Science is widely cited for the proposition that 20% of human genes are patented, and has led to a pervasive assumption that thousands of human genes cannot be used, studied, or even “looked at” by researchers and healthcare providers without infringing a gene patent. In his presentation, Professor Holman will show how a lack of understanding of patent law contributed to the creation of this myth and explain why there is no basis to infer from the Science article that the current whole genome sequencing technologies would result in the infringement of a large number of human gene patents.

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