Ethics in DNA Patenting: A Critical Outlook as Per Indian Scenario

  • Mitisha Parekh and Arryan Mohanty
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  • Mitisha Parekh

    Sstudent at KES Shri. Jayantilal H. Patel Law College, Mumbai, India

  • Arryan Mohanty

    Student at Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur, India

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“It's because of your genes.” This statement has likely been encountered on multiple occasions throughout your lifetime when discussing our height, weight, eye colour, hair colour, and so on. Genetic makeup is a constituent element of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), encompassing pertinent information regarding said characteristics. How implausible would it appear if you were informed that one of these genes could be subject to patenting? Is it verifiable that individuals can indeed obtain patents for genes? Given that organisms, their constituents, and any natural entities are not eligible for patenting, how does such a patent come about? To a certain extent, your line of reasoning is valid, yet it is crucial to acknowledge that gene patenting does indeed exist, with over 5,000 genes having been patented in the United States. However, whether gene patenting should be legally permissible is currently debated. Before exploring the numerous socio-legal and ethical quandaries surrounding this issue, it is essential to establish a concrete definition of this concept. The double helix structure of DNA, the genetic makeup of living things, was discovered, completely altering the study of biology. Since then, scientists have made significant progress in their knowledge of how DNA functions and how variations in DNA result in individual variances. However, the recent decade's quick advancements in biotechnology have made it possible for businesses, researchers, and “bioprospectors” to change nature's creations for financial gain. Getting the patent rights to an organism or one of its elements is a crucial technique for private exploitation in this domain. We must decide whether any company, organisation, or person should have the right to private ownership of life because these advances impact every aspect of society. It is widely acknowledged that the patent system's benefits to the community cannot be discounted. However, it is still being determined whether applying the patent system to DNA sequences accomplishes its intended objectives, including encouraging innovation for the common good and rewarding individuals for useful new inventions. Although their legitimacy is questionable, some patents that claim ownership of DNA sequences have already been granted. Because inventors who assert rights over DNA sequences get protection on all uses of the sequences, many patents have wide-ranging and contentious impacts because they directly collide with numerous moral and ethical dilemmas. We have tried to analyse several aspects of DNA patenting in light of this dispute.


Research Paper


International Journal of Legal Science and Innovation, Volume 5, Issue 6, Page 55 - 75


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