Objectives
Discuss how the primary structure of nucleic acids is the order of bases in the polynucleotide sequence, and the secondary structure is the three-dimensional conformation of the backbone.
Discuss the monomers of nucleic acids are nucleotides.
Discuss how the bases are bonded to the sugars, forming nucleosides.
Summarize how nucleosides are linked by ester bonds to phosphoric acid to form the phosphodiester backbone.
Specific proteins called single-strand binding proteins bind to the single-stranded regions and protect them from nucleases.
Spontaneous mutation of bases and insertion of the wrong nucleotide would normally lead to an error every 104 to 105
Instructions:Step 1: Read the article found in section 9A: Biochemical Connections: Law in your digital book.Using the Concorde’s Online Library, your digital material, and other scholarly websites, discuss the following:
What are your feelings regarding the article?
Describe, in detail, what the following statement means, “What can be patented is purified DNA containing the sequence of the gene and techniques that allow the study of the genes.”
How do you see the patenting of genes/DNA impacting science and medicine over the next 30 years?
Do you believe this trend is ethical? Why/why not?
Step 2: Compile your thoughts & research and write a 3-5 page paper addressing the topics and questions above.Step 3: Once complete, save your file and submit.
You are required to have at least two outside resources, at the scholarly level. Wikipedia is not acceptable. Attached as a PDF is the section of the book (Biochemistry 9th edition: 9781305961135).
essay_document_pdf.pdf
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Objectives
Discuss how the primary structure of nucleic acids is the order of bases in the

polynucleotide sequence, and the secondary structure is the three-dimensional
conformation of the backbone.
Discuss the monomers of nucleic acids are nucleotides.

Discuss how the bases are bonded to the sugars, forming nucleosides.

Summarize how nucleosides are linked by ester bonds to phosphoric acid to form

the phosphodiester backbone.
Specific proteins called single-strand binding proteins bind to the single-stranded

regions and protect them from nucleases.
Spontaneous mutation of bases and insertion of the wrong nucleotide would

normally lead to an error every 104 to 105
Instructions:
Step 1: Read the article found in section 9A: Biochemical Connections: Law in your
digital book.
Using the Concorde’s Online Library, your digital material, and other scholarly websites,
discuss the following:
What are your feelings regarding the article?

Describe, in detail, what the following statement means, “What can be patented

is purified DNA containing the sequence of the gene and techniques that allow
the study of the genes.”
How do you see the patenting of genes/DNA impacting science and medicine

over the next 30 years?
Do you believe this trend is ethical? Why/why not?

Step 2: Compile your thoughts & research and write a 3-5 page paper addressing the
topics and questions above.
Step 3: Once complete, save your file and submit.
You are required to have at least two outside resources, at the scholarly level.

Wikipedia is not acceptable.
9A: Biochemical Connections: Law
Who Owns Your Genes?
“There is a gene in your body’s cells that plays a key role in early spinal cord
development. It belongs to Harvard University. Incyte Corporation, based in Wilmington,
Del., has patented the gene for a receptor for histamine, the compound released by
cells during the hay fever season. About half of all the genes known to be involved in
cancer are patented.” Following the explosion in information that came from the Human
Genome Project (see Biochemical Connections 9B), commercial firms, universities, and
even government agencies began to look for patents on genes, which began a long
philosophical and legal battle that continues to this day. Human cells have about genes,
which are the blueprint for the trillion cells in our body. About percent of the human
genome has been patented. As of 2006, Incyte Corporation owned about percent of all
known human genes.
So the question that comes to mind is, “how can a company patent a biological entity?”
Well, clearly they cannot actually patent you or your genes, at least not the ones you
carry around. What can be patented is purified DNA containing the sequence of the
gene and techniques that allow the study of the genes. The idea of patenting
information began with a landmark case in 1972 when Ananda M. Chakrabarty, a
General Electric engineer, filed for a patent on a strain of Pseudomonas bacteria that
could break down oil slicks more efficiently. He experimented with the bacteria, getting
them to take up DNA from plasmids that conferred the clean-up ability. The patent office
rejected the patent on the grounds that products of nature and live organisms cannot be
patented. However, the battle was not over, and in 1980 the Supreme Court heard the
appeal in the same year that the techniques of molecular biology and recombinant DNA
technology really began to take off. Chief Justice Warren Burger declared arguments
against patenting life irrelevant by stating, “anything under the sun that is made by man”
could be patented. The ruling was close, only in favor of Chakrabarty, and the
ramifications continue to this day. Patents have been issued for gene sequences, whole
organisms such as specific bacteria, and cell types like stem cells. A patent on a clone
gene or the protein it produces gives the owner exclusivity in marketing the protein,
such as insulin or erythropoietin. As of 2005, the largest holder of scientific patents was
the University of California, with more than patents. The U.S. government was second
with , and the first commercial enterprise on the list, Sanofi Aventis, came in third at
(Figure 9.7).
Figure 9.7
This map of the chromosomes offers an indication of how often genes have been
patented in the United States. Each colored bar represents the number of patents in a
given segment of a chromosome, which can contain several genes. Patents can claim
multiple genes, and one gene may receive multiple patents. As a result, the number of
patents indicated for each chromosome does not necessarily match the sum of the
values represented by the colored bars.
There are many issues stirring the controversy. Proponents for the patent system point
out that it takes money to drive research. Companies will not want to invest hundreds of
thousands to millions of dollars in research if they cannot get a tangible gain. Allowing
them to patent a product means they can eventually recover their investment.
Opponents believe a patent on what amounts to information stifles more research and
even prevents the advancement of medicine. If a company holds the patent to a gene
known to be involved in a disease, then others cannot study it effectively and perhaps
come up with better or cheaper treatments. The latter point of view has come under
intense scrutiny recently because patents on diagnostic genes inhibit both research and
clinical medicine. At the heart of the conflict are patents for two genes related to breast
cancer, BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, both owned by Myriad Genetics, Inc., of Salt Lake City. In
2009 a group of patients, doctors, and research professionals brought a suit to
invalidate those patents. They argued that the two genes are “products of nature” and
should never have been patented in the first place. The long-term effects of such a suit
are important enough that the American Civil Liberties Union has joined the plaintiffs.
Opponents of gene patents claimed a big victory in March 2010 when Federal Court
Judge Robert Sweet ruled against Myriad in the suit of BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, stating the
human genes cannot be patented. So who owns your genes? At the moment, you do.
See the Hot Topic on breast cancer at the end of this chapter for more about BRCA 1
and 2.

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