Two European politicians have launched an initiative calling for an end to the patenting of human genes, a news article in Nature reports. Called SOS Human Genome, the campaign is seeking a moratorium on implementing the European Commission's directive on biotech patents, originally issued two years ago. German MP Wolfgang Wodarg and French MP Jean-Francois Mattei hope the challenge will force the European Patent Office (EPO) to temporarily stop issuing patents on genes, plants and animals.
The calls for a moratorium followed a report prepared by the two politicians, which argues that human material should not become private property. The report will be debated by the Council of Europe's parliamentary full assembly in June.
The campaign, which includes a web-based petition against the patenting of human genes, aims to raise public awareness of the issue and to encourage politicians to vote against any national attempts to ratify the directive. The Commission would then have to take any rebel countries to the European Court.
A spokeswoman from the EPO said it was too early to comment on the issue.
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Politicians seek to block human gene patents in Europe