Right now across the globe there is a major legal and scientific battle raging over one simple question: should we allow individuals and corporations to patent genes? Some biotech companies say yes, claiming patents reward medical research and promote the investigation of life saving treatments. Others see it very differently, describing patenting as a biotech land-grab that's less about patients and more about greed.
In Body Corporate, reporter Andrew Fowler travels to the United States and around Australia to hear from both sides in this high-stakes battle. He talks to the researchers, patent lawyers and families who have been forced to pay significant amounts of money to find out if they have genes linked to potentially life-threatening conditions.
Who is right? Can the very basis of life itself be patented and sold? Is it possible that a unique gene that makes us what we are could be patented by someone we don't know and then franchised out to a major corporation?