One-fifth of human genes are patented, study reveals

This stylistic schematic diagram shows a gene in relation to the double helix structure of DNA and to a chromosome (right). Introns are regions often found in eukaryote genes which are removed in the splicing process: only the exons encode the protein. This diagram labels a region of only 40 or so bases as a gene. In reality many genes are much larger.“A new study shows that 20 percent of human genes have been patented in the United States, primarily by private firms and universities.

“The study, which is reported this week in the journal Science, is the first time that a detailed map has been created to match patents to specific physical locations on the human genome.

“Researchers can patent genes because they are potentially valuable research tools, useful in diagnostic tests or to discover and produce new drugs.

“‘It might come as a surprise to many people that in the U.S. patent system human DNA is treated like other natural chemical products,’ said Fiona Murray, a business and science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and a co-author of the study.

“‘An isolated DNA sequence can be patented in the same manner that a new medicine, purified from a plant, could be patented if an inventor identifies a [new] application.'”

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US scientists resurrect deadly 1918 flu

“In a surprise announcement, scientists in the US say they have recreated the influenza virus that killed at least 50 million people in 1918, and they have infected mice with it.

“They say the need to understand how flu viruses cause lethal pandemics outweighs any safety risks. But the risks may not be negligible.

“By painstakingly piecing together viral fragments from hospital specimens and a victim buried in Alaskan permafrost, Jeff Taubenberger and colleagues at the US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Rockville, Maryland, have now sequenced all eight coding regions of the 1918 flu virus’s genome. They published the last three – coding for the polymerase complex that allows the virus to replicate – on Wednesday”.

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The Nokia 888 phone “bracelet”

“The Nokia 888 concept transcends conventional design and allows you to morph into any design you wish, roll it, bend it, clip it, whatever.

“I think specs are peripheral to the topic here. We have all seen great innovation with Nokia’s phone designs especially with the Nokia 7280 . Yanko Design features the Nokia 888 which is a lightweight communication device with a totally flexible form factor. What does that mean? you can roll it, you can make it a wrist band, you can straighten it, however you want it. The site mentions use of liquid battery and flexible touch screens for the concept. Lets wait and see, when Nokia picks it up and I would have it in my hands.”

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Send AM radio signals from your monitor

“‘Tempest for Eliza’ is a program that uses your computer monitor to send out AM radio signals. You can then hear computer generated music in your radio.

“All electronic devices send out eletromagnetic waves – so does your monitor, and your monitor does it all the time at very high frequencies. They are high enough for your shortwave AM radio. All you have to do is display the ‘correct’ image on your screen and your monitor will emit the ‘right’ signals.”

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“What is Web 2.0?” – Part II

“‘What Is Web 2.0’ by Tim O’Reilly — Defining just what Web 2.0 means (the term was first coined at a conference brainstorming session between O’Reilly and MediaLive International, which also spawned the Web 2.0 Conference), still engenders much disagreement. Some decry it as a meaningless marketing buzzword, while others have accepted it as the new conventional wisdom. Tim O’Reilly attempts to clarify just what we meant by Web 2.0, digging into what it means to view the Web as a platform and which applications fall squarely under its purview, and which do not.”