With all of the discussion surrounding Angelina Jolie and her decision to remove her breasts due to a mutation of the patented BRCA-1 gene, we must remember the real issue here — a massive amount of human genetic coding is already owned by major corporations and universities. And it may get much worse.
At the base level, the fact that our genes can be ‘owned’ by mega firms and universities that are willing to ‘buy’ them is extremely concerning. The thought invokes several comparisons to the film Gattaca, where ‘designer’ children are created through genetic manipulation of humanity at large. But the fact of the matter is that over the past 30 years alone, over 40,000 gene patents have been generated and approved. Quite simply, the blueprint of humanity is being purchased like a commodity.
Even National Geographic News published a little-known piece back in 2005, entitled ‘One-Fifth of Human Genes Have Been Patented, Study Reveals’. And if the Supreme Court decides to let this go on, then we could see what I am calling ‘gene wars’ take place within the corrupt corporate sector of the United States. Gene wars that involve bidding wars over the essence of human development itself, with only the richest and most cunning corporations getting their hands on your genetic coding. That is unless the government decides to take the gene patents for itself.
Gene Wars: The Government Plays God
Beyond even the debate about what this means for humanity, consider the fact that for the corporations to be able to ‘buy’ the ownership of genes means that the entity granting the approval must therefore have the authority over the genes in the first place. This means that the government, legally, is ‘granting access’ to companies to patent the genetics only through proclaiming that it has the authority to do so. The government is therefore legally saying that they literally can rule over our genetic code — our bodies themselves.
And if the government rules over the essence of what we are and can let corporations buy up the blueprint of life, then we now have a government that has declared itself to be God. And we then have a population that is walking intellectual property.
By June we should see the answer from the Supreme Court on whether or not the government ‘should allow’ patents on genes. Again we see this concept that the government has the authority to do so, that they have the ability to grant out the ownership of humanity. A concept that the Supreme Court justices may likely uphold, if the past is any indication. Right now we even have Clarence Thomas, a Supreme Court justice who was the former top lawyer for Monsanto — the biotechnology company that is centered around genetic manipulation and the patents associated with genetically modified seeds.
Monsanto’s good buddy Clarence always rules in favor of genetic modification, and the Supreme Court at large recently voted in favor of Monsanto’s patents on life in a blow against farmers. Sadly, if they decide to follow their similar and truly insane pattern and allow for corporations to patent life further, expect gene wars to become a reality.