DNA’s Junkyard Dog

“Mervyn Jacobson, executive chairman of the small Australian biotech firm Genetic Technologies Ltd. (GTG), failed to create much of a stir in biotech circles when his company secured patents for the 97 percent of our genome known as “junk DNA.” Recently, however, researchers have come to realize that the non-coded DNA that was long considered extraneous may represent the next generation of genetic research, and many will likely be hearing from Jacobson.

Jacobson’s Melbourne-based company, whose numerous patents cover the analysis and mapping of junk DNA in all genes and all species, may actually own the rights to unraveling the etiology of diseases such as HIV, Alzheimer’s, and several forms of cancer—at least until his patents begin running out, in 2010. If, as looks increasingly likely, more researchers focus on junk DNA, Jacobson—whose company secures the majority of its revenue from licensing fees—will be very busy doing what he’s become notorious for: sending polite letters to biotech companies around the world reminding them that they owe him a lot of money.”

Read more here at Seed Magazine.