Magazine article New Internationalist

Patents on Life: FROM THIS MONTH'S EDITOR

Magazine article New Internationalist

Patents on Life: FROM THIS MONTH'S EDITOR

Article excerpt

THE nutraceutical guy leaned forward conspiratorially. `It's the same old loonies, you know - the ones that go around digging up fields, protesting against genetic modification. They don't know a thing about science.'

He was understandably feeling a bit threatened. His goal was to push food crops engineered to grow medicinal chemicals on to a sceptical public. These were foods for the future, promising a vision of health for all and an end to pill-popping. He hoped to persuade governments that they should be adopted on a large scale. If only something could be done about the loonies.

I indicated that I was willing to give him the benefit of my doubt. But wasn't the problem that it was impossible to test fully the safety of something that was capable of reproducing independently in the wild? And did he think that patenting such food crops was just a touch exclusive? …

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