Patenting of Cloned Human Embryos Planned

Date: 04/17/2002

The biotechnology lobby is trying to convince the Senate and the public that the only purpose for which biotech firms want to clone human embryos is to advance “stem cell research.”  But the bills that the biotech lobby supports allow cloning of human embryos without restriction and for ANY reason–and there are many uses that biotech firms have in mind for cloned human embryos besides harvesting their stem cells.

According to an illuminating article in the March 2 edition of National Journal, “The New Patent Puzzle,” by Neil Munro, some biotech firms may hope to PATENT specific cloned human embryos for sale for many types of experimentation–just as designer strains of cats, mice, and other animals are already patented and sold as “medical models.” The article notes, “Already, some researchers, including Michael West, the head of ACT [Advanced Cell Technology], argue that a cloned embryo of less that 14 days, or perhaps one that hasn’t developed a brain, is not human but is merely cellular life that can be owned and patented.”  To read more about this issue, see http://www.nrlc.org/Killing_Embryos/patentpuzzle030202.html