Use of sequence databases - ethics?

Ed Rybicki ed at MOLBIOL.UCT.AC.ZA
Tue Dec 10 08:11:51 EST 1996

> From:          Wolfgang Wuster <bss166 at>
> Subject:       Use of sequence databases - ethics?
> Date:          Mon, 9 Dec 1996 16:51:30 +0000 (GMT)

> I was wondering whether there is a widespread consensus among molecular
> biologists regarding the extent to which published sequences can be
> re-used, and published in one's own name without it becoming a case of
> plagiarism. 

I have been in exactly this position a couple of times, with
sequence analyses of both poty- and geminiviruses - and I took the
view that if a sequence is published in a database (which with plant
viruses usually means it has been published in print as well), then
it is "public domain" in that I can use it as long as I correctly
cite who sequenced it.  I think this constitutes "fair use" as far as 
databased sequences are concerned.

                     Ed Rybicki, PhD  
      Dept Microbiology     |   ed at   
   University of Cape Town  | rybicki at
   Private Bag, Rondebosch  |  phone: x27-21-650-3265
      7700, South Africa    |   fax: x27-21-689 7573
    WWW URL:      
    "Out here on the perimeter, there are no stars..."

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