Genetics, patents, careers

Greg Chapman zubla at shc.uiowa.edu
Wed Jun 8 16:01:03 EST 1994


For an introductory biology course I took a while back, I did 
some research on how governments and corporations were taking out
patents on genes they had sequenced.  Does this mean there is a
need to rush through school and dive into the HGP?

I am a returning adult student with prior education in computers.
I will start Organic Chemisty I in the Fall.  I would like to enter
the field of genetics in some area that would allow me to improve
human health.  An example would be to see if the adult tooth growing
process can be switched back on for older adults.

My main interest is in learning, and I am thinking about taking
a net year out of my biochem schedule to learn electronics.  So I am
wondering what would be the consequences of this delay?

I have one more concern that I have put off since so many people
have strong opinions about the issue and the ethics.  I am
wondering about the money.  Being a middle-aged adult who
has worked in a wide range of public and private jobs, I know
that it is possible to both enjoy learning and to enjoy making
money.  I see no reason why I should have to spend the rest of my
life in debt just because I enjoy learning and research.  If I sound
defensive, it is because I am being defensive.  I am tired of being
told that if I want money I should be a lawyer, and that "real, true
researchers (TM)" shouldn't be concerned about such things.  I think
that after a number of degrees, and years spent expanding human
knowledge, a researcher should be rewarded with some sort of a
nest-egg for retirement.  Just to keep this from becoming a flame
war, I should point out that the purpose of this posting is to
obtain opinions on a detour away from genetics (into electronics).
The primary goal is learning.

So, in the future will researchers be able to take out patents on
new processes, or will all such things be sewn up and researchers
limited to small research stipends?  Is time a part of this issue
or is it already too late?

Thank you very much,

zubla at forte.shc.uiowa.edu
--
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