Open source biotech: a model for nanotech?

Andrew Pollack of the NYT reports: "The open-source movement, which has encouraged legions of programmers around the world to improve continually upon software like the Linux operating system, may be spreading to biotechnology. Researchers from Australia will report in a scientific journal today that they have devised a method of creating genetically modified crops that does not infringe on patents held by big biotechnology companies. They said the technique, and a related one already used in crop biotechnology, would be made available free to others to use and improve, as long as any improvements are also available free. As with open-source software, the idea is to spur innovation through a sort of communal barn-raising effort." I have met the project's leader Richard Jefferson — impressive fellow.–CP

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