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The Epistemic Consequences of Genetic Patenting

The legal acceptance of patents on genetic material unleashed a flood of funding for basic research into genetics and ultimately led to a number of successful medical diagnostics and treatments. However, conducting basic research within an explicitly capitalist framework while conforming to the specific requirements of patents vs. publications places particular pressures on the subjects, methods and results of that research. In The Epistemic Consequences of Genetic Patenting, I examine the effects of restrictions on research topics and decreased sharing of information during the exploratory phase of gene patent development, and consider whether the commercial biotech revolution was truly a viable funding model for high quality basic research.

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