Who owns human DNA?
Scientists have been patenting various human gene sequences for perhaps a decade or more, now. It used to cause a furor, but you hardly ever hear about it any more. There are a number of arguments for and against patenting genes, as described in this article.
One of my objections is not included amongst the arguments in that article. I think that our genes are part of us, so someone owning a human gene is like owning a human being—tantamount to slavery. We no longer have sovereignty over our own bodies.
One argument is that allowing scientists (or corporations) to patent genes encourages them to conduct research. Only a patent protects their knowledge from being used for free by others, and it is the only way they can make money that justifies the cost of the research. (This could lead to a discussion of the ethics of patents in general).
So who owns your DNA? What does ownership mean in this context? What happens when the patents run out? Can we sell our DNA to corporations?