The Niche

Five cloned pets and a sheepish patent

Here’s this from the Korea Times.

Just after pet-cloning company RNL Bio announced that it had cloned five puppies from a beloved pit bull named Booger, another cloning company is preparing to sue it. The second company, Start Licensing, a Texas-based, holds licenses for the patents surrounding Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal.

Patent wars are plenty common in this field (See Perfect storm in patents ). The patents held by WARF and licensed to Geron have drawn protest from the research community (See A patent challenge for stem cell research ). And the intellectual property over the techniques for reprogramming cells is playing out. (See Japan ramps up patent effort to keep iPS lead )

So, it is a bit surprising to learn that Harvard plans to distribute over 20 iPS cell lines representing more than 10 disease conditions for free, and additional lines will also be deposited in the ‘iPS core’ facility, dedicated to improving, curating, and distributing lines. These first-generation iPS cells are made through a genetic engineering that renders them unsuitable for therapy and causes unwanted variation between cell lines. Even two cell lines made from the same person are genetically different. But the Harvard folks say they are going to keep making the cell lines available even as production techniques improve to make cells more valuable.


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