Sunday, February 13, 2005

An early shot in the human vs. hybrid wars

U.S. Denies Patent for a Too-Human Hybrid (

Two activists set up a patent case in order to establish that a human/chimp genetic hybrid could not be patented. Their goal was to begin to declare some work "off limits" by either removing the profit incentive or seizing the patent itself. The courts indeed ruled that human beings could not be patented and that the theoretical hybrid was "too close" to human to patent.

It will be interesting to see where the human/non-human boundary is. Can one patent a modified chimpanzee? If so the boundary is extremely close. If not, then what about other primates? Dolphins? Non-primates? Non-mammals?

What the heck, the hybrids will be developed in China anyway. I am positive, by the way, that someone somewhere has at some time created an embryo that was part human and part chimpanzee. It's too easy to do for humans to resist trying, even if they were never to speak of it.

This battle, of course, is only beginning. If we survive the next forty years we'll see much more of it. This "first shot", however, is an historic event.

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