17 July 1997
Strasbourg supports gene patenting
The European Parliament has approved a controversial gene patenting
directive which aligns rules on patenting of genetic material with those
in the US and Japan.
Amendments have been added to address ethical objections, which had
previously stopped the directive being passed. These include:
the patenting of animal races and plant varieties;
patenting procedures for human cloning or modifying the human genetic
inventions in question against the suffering that certain inventions
could inflict on animals.
Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies wanted the directive to
harness the increasing knowledge of diseases with genetic causes to
develop treatments. Agricultural companies say they needed the directive
so as to be able to get legal protection when they develop new varieties
of crop and livestock. The directive now awaits final parliamentary