The parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe last week approved a recommendation that 'neither plant, animal nor human derived genes, cells, tissue or organs' should be regarded as inventions and thereby be subject to patents. This declaration is in direct conflict with last year's European Union directive which allows the patenting of transgenic plants and animals. Warning that patents of living organisms could threaten biodiversity, the assembly called on the governments of the 41 members of the council to discuss a 'suitable alternative system of protecting intellectual property in biotechnology' consistent with the 1992 United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
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Council of Europe says no to patenting genes