Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Owning Nature

As an old-fashioned newspaper guy, I still have a hard time believing that strong enterprise reporting can occur without the backing of a print or broadcast outlet. But good investigations are occurring on the Web that are independent of any traditional media outlet. A good example is "The Gene Rush" by Stan Cox of Alternet. Cox examines how the genes for naturally growing foods are being patented by private companies. By making the "agricultural gene pool open to genetic prospectors," he writes, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is stifling innovation for farmers and scientists in America and around the world. What makes this story work are the examples Cox gives of patents for everything from firm honeydew melons to bismati rice.


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