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Synthesis/Regeneration 17   (Fall 1998)

The No Patents on Life! Petition

by The Council for Responsible Genetics

The Petition

The plants, animals and microorganisms comprising life on earth are part of the natural world into which we are all born. The conversion of these species, their molecules or parts into corporate property through patent monopolies is counter to the interests of the peoples of this country and of the world.

No individual, institution, or corporation should be able to claim ownership over species or varieties of living organisms. Nor should they be able to hold patents on organs, cells, genes or proteins, whether naturally occurring, genetically altered or otherwise modified.

As part of a world movement to protect our common living heritage, we call upon the Congress of the United States to enact legislation to exclude living organisms and their component parts from the patent system.

Sign by sending this information with notice of your intention to sign: Name, Email address, Street address, City: State, Zip code; Country:

Send to: Council for Responsible Genetics, 5 Upland Road, Suite 3 Cambridge MA 02140 tel: 617-868-0870 fax: 617-491-5344 To sign electronically you can visit our web site at http://www.esssential.org/crg or e-mail: crg@essential.org

Dear Friends:

The Council for Responsible Genetics (CRG) urges you to sign the "No Patents on Life!" petition. The dual mission of the CRG is to educate the public about the social and environmental implications of new genetic technologies and to advocate for the socially responsible use of these technologies.

Corporations are rushing to patent genetically engineered life forms and human gene sequences. Patenting organisms and their DNA transforms them into commodities for profit and promotes the view that living beings are little more than "gene machines." The petition will be used to demonstrate-to the media, government officials and legislative bodies-wide-ranging concern. It may be used as part of a strategy to change existing patent laws. Because the notion of patenting life forms originated in the United States, the petition is directed to the US government. However, it also will be useful in other settings. If you are not a US citizen, we hope you and your colleagues will launch a similar campaign directed to your nation's parliamentary body. Your support is vital to our efforts.

We hope you will add your name to the "No Patents on Life!" petition, printed on the back cover. The CRG has been working with many other groups as part of a "No Patents on Life!" campaign. The success of this campaign depends, in large part, on our ability to demonstrate a strong, broad-based opposition to this practice. The petition sends a strong message that life patents will not be tolerated. Join us.

In addition to replying to us, please send the petition to your colleagues and other concerned citizens, so that they will have a chance to join in this important effort. Thank you.

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