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Patents on DNA sequences are issued too easily, too often and with too little scrutiny, according to Britain's leading advisory body on bioethics.

In a report published on 23 July, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics says that, in future, patents involving DNA sequences should be issued as an exception, not as a rule.

Existing patent regimes are often too heavily influenced by pressure from patent applicants and their employers, the authors say, and are not responsive enough to the interests of other researchers, who want open access to gene sequences, or of society as a whole.

Link to news story in Nature

Reference: Nature 418, 356 (2002)