The biotechnology industry has become firmly established over the past twen
ty years and gene patents have played an important part in this phenomenon.
However, concerns have been raised over the patentability of human genetic
material, through public protests and international statements, but to lit
tle effect. Here we discuss some of these concerns, the patent authorities'
response to them, and ways in which to address these issues and to move th
e debate forward using current legal structures.