The number of genes in the human genome, according to the most recent analysis by a group out of MIT/Harvard.
This is down from old-school estimates of 150,000 and moderately lower than the numbers hypothesized after the Human Genome Project (35,000).
The new analysis uses a way of comparing many species in order to predict what is and isn’t a gene in the human genome, since we don’t know how to ID them in a foolproof manner yet.
So there you have it, every cell in your body has ~20,500 tools in its toolbox to make it . . well, IT and you … well YOU. It’s all in the combinations.
A federal appeals court upheld Myriad Genetics’ right to patent human genes this week. The ACLU had sued to block this, and although they won a previous case, it looks like the ability to patent (and preserve
intellectual property rights money) on a piece of nature might go to the Supreme Court.
I think the cartoon above and the following quote sum up my views on the subject quite nicely:
“Human DNA is not a manufactured invention, but a natural entity like air or water. To claim ownership of genetic information is to unnecessarily block the free exchange of ideas.”
(via The Scientist)