Patents,Big business and science

James Burns burns at
Fri Jan 19 09:41:25 EST 1996

	In the January issue of ASM News[ (1996) 62:8-9] there is an 
article in current topics titled 'DOE moves to second round of microbial 
genome sequencing'.
	Within the first two paragraphs, one learns that the DOE has 
funded two private institution and one academic lab. Also, the organisms 
to be sequenced were chosen for scientific and commercial value.

	My Point: At the Estuarine Research Federation meeting 
in Hilton Head,SC two years ago, I presented an ethics paper with my 
co-author (J.Love) in a special session which (in a nut shell) stated 
that the funding of private institution/ offering patents/providing 
profit potential to scientific research may alter the question the 
science asks and how they are answered.

	It is my opinion that the ASM article is just one of many 
scenarios that have proven us correct. However, at the ERF meeting, we 
were called naive, inexperienced,wrong and other things I can not print 
in a public forum.  We received much "heat" from some of our superiors 
and from some members of the audience.

I should also add we received some praise as well. ( Nothing is all bad!)

I would like to hear other opinions, especially anyone that saw my session.



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