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Archive for November, 2010

Of Trout, Men, and Mercury: Thinking Locally, Acting Globally

November 18, 2010 4 comments

Glenn is a CIEL Senior Attorney, Director of the Chemicals Program, and an avid fisherman.

By Glenn Wiser

I was fishing a mountain stream at my friend John’s place in Chilean Patagonia recently when I hooked a 27-inch wild rainbow trout.  After chasing the fish halfway down the river, I succeeded in hauling it onto the gravel bank, where I quickly did some mental math:  rainbow trout is typically low in mercury; bioaccumulation means this big fish may contain higher levels; rushing mountain stream probably doesn’t support production of much methylmercury.  My result, unfortunately for the fish, was fresh rainbow trout fillets for dinner, which John and I washed down with an excellent local sauvignon blanc.

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Categories: Chemicals Tags: ,

US Dept. of Justice says no patents on genes

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

In a recently filed amicus brief, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) departed from long standing US case law and policy that allows for the patenting of isolated genes, arguing that isolated genes are part of nature and thus not patent eligible.  Both biotechnology and medical industry trade associations argue that these patents continue to be critical to incentivizing future innovation.  The amicus brief is regarding the case of breast cancer genes, held unpatentable by a US District Court in the Southern District of NY, which is currently being appealed.

The DOJ’s amicus brief can be accessed here:  http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/business/genepatents-USamicusbrief.pdf

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