Patent protection for microbial technologies

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Microbial technologies often serve as the basis of fundamental research tools in molecular biology. These present a variety of ethical, legal and social issues concerning their patenting. This commentary presents several case studies of these issues across three major microbiological tools: CRISPR, viral vectors and antimicrobial resistance drugs. It concludes that the development of these technologies—both scientifically and commercially—depend, in part, on the patent regime available for each, and researchers' willingness to enforce those patents against others.

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