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In best interest of Public Not in best interest of Public
Debate Score:10
Total Votes:11
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 In best interest of Public (2)
 Not in best interest of Public (3)

Debate Creator

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Genetics and Patenting of Biotechnology

"When a biotechnology patent involving an altered product of nature is issued, the patent holder is required to deposit a sample of the new invention into one of the 26 worldwide culture depositories. Most DNA-related patents are issued by the USPTO, the European Patent Office, or the Japanese Patent Office.

Currently over three million genome-related patent applications have been filed. U.S. patent applications are confidential until a patent is issued, so determining which sequences are the subject of patent applications is impossible. Those who use sequences from public databases today risk facing a future injunction if those sequences turn out to be patented by a private company on the basis of previously filed patent applications." (source: )  (What is genetic engineering? )


I don't expect anyone to be a professional in the fields of Patent Law; Biotechnology; or Genetics, but I did want to present something that should be of concern to the General Public.  This is the patenting of gene sequences and manipulated gene variations by biotech companies.  (let me add that much of the evidence, sound scientific inquiry and methodology, points to concern-much beyond concern impacting human health, the environmental impact, and biodiversity of different species-included in this is extinction due to herbicide use.  

What are the consequences of allowing the right to patent "nature"?  

What are the consequences of using bacteria as an agent to create these modifications?

Should we allow the right to patent genetic modified foods without proper testing? (many foods allowed for human consumption in Europe and the US have been approved without any sound science)  

What would constitute as proper testing?  Who would be responsible for this?  Where could funding come from?

When science is used to prove the benefit to society, but is highly funded by biotech companies should these studies be considered? (  )  

What do you believe could be the benefits of genetic patenting?

Benefits of genetic engineering?

I have many more questions and would love to go more into issues of ethics, the science behind genetic engineering, and the politics behind the biotech movement.



In best interest of Public

Side Score: 4

Not in best interest of Public

Side Score: 6
3 points

Mmmkay, I'ma answer these questions in sequential order.

1) "What are the consequences of allowing the right to patent "nature"?

I don't think it's "patenting nature." As stated above, it's "an altered product of nature." It's (in my mind) the same as taking something natural and turning it into medicine, chemicals, etc. It's not patenting nature, it's patenting our modifications to nature.

2) "What are the consequences of using bacteria as an agent to create these modifications?"

I remember covering this topic last year in AP Biology. It's not at all dangerous that they use bacteria to make these modifications. The bacteria are simply the tools that are used to modify the genetics, just like a hammer is the tool used to hammer a nail.

3) "Should we allow the right to patent genetic modified foods without proper testing?"

Patent? Yes. Distribute? No. Patenting does no harm, distributing, however, can do harm.

4) "What would constitute as proper testing? Who would be responsible for this? Where could funding come from?"

It should work just like how medicines are tested. I think that the company itself should be responsible for the testing, and the funding should come from the company. Reviewing of the tests would be done by a group of non-affiliated scientists.

5) "When science is used to prove the benefit to society, but is highly funded by biotech companies should these studies be considered?"

Of course! But the studies should be done by a non-affiliated, unbiased group of scientists.

6) "What do you believe could be the benefits of genetic patenting?"

Patenting doesn't have an advantage (in my mind) other than letting someone make sure that what they made stays theirs.

7) "Benefits of genetic engineering?"

Endless. Heathcare gets improved, food gets improved, our standard of living would skyrocket. There honestly isn't a downside to genetic engineering.

Side: In best interest of Public
2 points

First and foremost, thank you for being the first to address this debate. My hope is that many more join in and this topic will be debated for quite some time.

Many good points, but prior to engaging you a bit further could you do me the pleasure of informing me, and the group, of your education/age . (I want to make sure my points are in a context not only understood by yourself, but that of our peers)

And to be fair, I am 26 years old beginning my graduate level studies this year in the fields of Occupational and Environmental Health. My main interests are biotechnology and their impacts on human health and that of the environment. I have learned much, but still feel as though I know nothing. I look forward in sharing more about what I know.

Side: Not in best interest of Public
0 points

i think that being gay is genetic. I have researched it and I do believe it to be true. How can someone say that being gay is a choice? Really i think that they dont have any clue on what they are saying. Tell me this why would someone chose to be gay so they can be made fun of and everything. NO ONE CHOSES TO BE GAY!!!

Side: In best interest of Public
3 points

This is what happens when scientists, pharmaceutical companies, and bureaucrats are the personifications of Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Pseudo-science for economic profit under the guise of humanitarianism. Oh, I must also mention that their pseudo-science is patented and thusly the legal means to preclude other mad scientists from reaping a profit, free from competition, by the same pseudo-science madness.

Granted, I may be suffering from madness myself, but I think it is imperative for all of us to determine if madness describes the objective of some fields of genetic research and genetic perversion. Let’s now enter the laboratory of the layman and peer through his/her microscope at a sample of what is possibly pseudo-science.

My first inquiry relates to food that is fit for human consumption, tomatoes.( The reason I chose tomatoes is because most people are familiar with the hybridization of heirloom tomatoes. And if they are not, there is an abundance of scientific knowledge available from our local tomato growers whereby they can learn and test the science of growing tomatoes. )

Question #1

Should a local tomato grower be put out of business because he sold some food that was patented by a Biogen, when the grower had spent many years cross-pollinating various tomato species and consequently sells the best tomatoes that are sold within fifty miles?

Question #2

If the tomato grower is sued and thusly put out of business, from whom shall his/her former costumers buy the same tomatoes?

Question #3

Will the Biogen consequently replace that supply of food at the same price to the same costumers?

Question #4

What will happen to our supply of tomatoes when the Biogen owns the patent rights on all tomatoes despite the fact that the Biogen grows nothing but profit?

Question #5

What will happen to our supply of tomatoes when the Biogen tomatoes cross-pollinate with our heirloom varieties?

Question #6

Did you know that hybrid tomatoes do not produce viable seeds of their parent plant?

Question #7

Do you really want to relinquish your freedom and independence that comes from growing your own food to a company who owns the rights to the food you eat yet cannot grow?

(The intention of this post is to direct our minds to questions that must be asked; unless of course we want to tell our grandchildren of a day when people could labor in the soil of their country to provide food for themselves and their neighbors.)

Side: Not in best interest of Public
1 point

I should stipulate that I am arguing that patenting biotechnology isn't in the interests of the public. However I feel that genetic engineering is in our best interests.

Patenting biotechnology allows companies like Monsanto to sue farmers whose plants have crossed with a different farm's GE crops. They call it piracy because the farmers are collecting seeds from their crops for next year which contain the GE patented sequences by fluke.

I object to this because it looks like an emerging farm-version of the current entertainment industry and their tentacled grasp on our culture, and attempts to rent-seek and sue their customers in order to stay in business through lobbying and intimidation. I would hate to see the biotech industry become a clone of the entertainment industry in this regard, suing farmers to intimidate them into buying their own seeds (because that would be the only safe option) and rendering heirloom varieties, indeed any non-GE crops as unsafe because of the risk of contamination. The next targets for lawsuit could then be normal gardeners because their plants would sometimes become cross-pollinated. Very scary possibility.

However, I believe that the risks associated with genetically engineered crops are similar to any other agriculture-based product, and so it currently constitutes a sort of double standard to expect hard proof of a GE product's safety, when we've been eating mutated and cross-pollinated foods for millennia. The concern shouldn't be for our health but rather for the environment, because both GE and non-GE crops have been damaging our biodiversity, threatening species, and so on. We need to change those practices.

Side: Not in best interest of Public