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Trilobites: What 13,000 Patents Involving the DNA of Sea Life Tell Us About the Future

This is a California brown sea hare. It has some of the biggest brain cells in the animal kingdom.And this is the bacteria shewanella oneidensis, which can live with or without oxygen.What they share, beyond the possession of remarkable traits, is that their DNA is included among thousands of patents owned by BASF, which calls itself “the largest chemical producer in the world.” The German company has acquired nearly half of the 13,000 patents derived from 862 marine organisms genetic sequences, according to a study published in June.Whether a single private entity should be able to set the direction of how the genes of so many living…

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