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Anjana Ahuja on patenting stem cells, smoking in China and world population growth

By Anjana Ahuja   May 2011

Stem cell researchers face a tense time after a preliminary European ruling that procedures involving “totipotent” stem cells should not be patentable. If upheld by the European Court of Justice, as is expected in the next few months, the ruling could jeopardise research across Europe. Greenpeace brought the case against a 1997 patent filed by Oliver Brüstle, a German professor using such cells to treat spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative diseases. Totipotent cells are formed in the first few days after sperm and egg unite. They are the ultimate master cells, with each having the potential to become a person.…

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