Bioengineers look beyond patents
Synthetic-biology company pushes open-source models.
When DNA2.0, a company that synthesizes made-to-order genes, needed to conduct a few routine experiments using a fluorescent protein, its lawyers dug up more than 1,000 US patents covering their use. DNA2.0 decided to avoid the legal thicket by engineering several dozen fluorescent proteins from scratch. But the company, based in Menlo Park, California, was convinced that something had to change.
Last month, DNA2.0 deposited gene sequences encoding three of its fluorescent proteins into an open-access collection of recipes for DNA ‘parts’, molecular building blocks used to engineer organisms — often bacteria — to carry out specific functions. The company vows not to pursue its patent rights against anyone using the sequences. (via Bioengineers look beyond patents : Nature News & Comment)