Taq Patent

Mackay, John-F {~Auckland} JOHN-F.MACKAY at roche.com
Wed Feb 2 15:42:33 EST 2000


> > What will happen to the scientists (?) who cooked and 
> > massaged their data for the Taq patent? 
> > I mean scientifically, in addition to anything the 
> > court will dish out accordingly. 
> > Anything like this took place before? 
> 
> I wonder why the Nobel price winner in chemistry of 1993, 
> Kary B. Mullis, 
> is not implemented in the fraud, as he worked at Cetus in the 
> same period, 
> and published with them on the subject matter (Science 1988 Jan 
> 29;239(4839):487-91 -Primer-directed enzymatic amplification 
> of DNA with a 
> thermostable DNA polymerase.) Anybody with worthwhile opinions? 
I read (okay, speed read) the ruling, and he wasn't mentioned at all. 
It may be that he wasn't involved in the purification of Taq for 
commercial usage. There seemed to be only a handful of people who were 
mentioned, and those seemed to have either been working directly on the 
Taq for patent or were advisors for the process. I haven't read the 
original filing, but my guess would be that if he wasn't involved in the 
patent scam then there wasn't a legal need to mention him. 

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I believe that Kary Mullis had very little to do with the Taq process. It
was suggested that he purify the enzyme (he had the idea of a thermostable
polymerase,
people got sick of adding Klenow every cycle) but he never got around to it
and it was purified by others. Once it was purified, he used it but thats
about all. 
He left Cetus in 1988 and so wasn't involved in the characterisation of the
polymerase. He was on the first PCR paper using Taq (referenced above) as
the PCR inventor, rather than the one who did all the work (Saiki, Sharf,
Erlich etc)

...........or so I'm led to believe

John
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