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The History of Cloning Vector pBR322 Scientific and Intellectual Property Considerations

The History of Cloning Vector pBR322 Scientific and Intellectual Property Considerations

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The History of Cloning Vector pBR322 Scientific and Intellectual Property Considerations

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  1. The History of Cloning Vector pBR322Scientific and Intellectual Property Considerations Anu Kotha IGSP Center for Genome Ethics, Law & Policy

  2. Objectives • Analyze the atmosphere and motivations for engineering pBR322 • Evaluate “open science” sharing of pBR322 • Uncover reasons for not patenting pBR322 • Study dissemination rates of pBR322 compared to patented technologies

  3. Methods • Personal interviews with Dr. Ray Rodriguez & Dr. Axel Ullrich • Publicly available interviews of Dr. Herb Boyer, Mr. Bob Swanson, Dr. Paul Berg, & Dr. Mary Betlach • Scientific articles and other scholarly works • Web of Science, United States Patent Office, and Delphion Citation and Patent Searches

  4. Early Recombinant DNA Controversy • Berg’s recombinant DNA methods • Asilomar I • Cohen-Boyer • Voluntary Moratorium • Asilomar II

  5. Creation of pBR322 • Scientists and public concerned about the safety of recombinant DNA • After Asilomar II all recombinant DNA work stops in Boyer Lab • Postdocs Bolivar & Rodriguez engineer a safer and easier to use vector- pBR322 Bolivar and Rodriguez

  6. Advantages of pBR322 • Combination of ampicillin and tetracycline resistance • Increased replication rate • Significantly reduced chance of conjugal transfer of vector

  7. “Open Science” Sharing of pBR322 • Collaborators of Boyer lab received vector immediately • Presentations about pBR322 at conferences increased demand • Vector distributed without discrimination • Rapid dissemination of pBR322 despite NIH’s reluctance to both certify and approve vector Boyer Lab

  8. Reasons for Not Patenting pBR322 • Not realizing patent potential of vector • Negative scientific attitudes towards intellectual property protection • Complications resulting from Boyer lab’s collaboration with Genentech Whatever the reason, not patenting pBR322 was a major loss of potential revenue for UCSF

  9. pBR322 Today • Still a popular commercial vector • Numerous derivatives of pBR322 • “It is more meaningful to me that the original paper is not referred to anymore in a large number of papers, perhaps having achieved wide recognition.”- Bolivar

  10. Citation Trends Maxam-Gilbert pBR322 PCR

  11. Attitudes Today • Recombinant DNA is basis of hot research and biotech industry • Scientists more accepting of intellectual property protection of their results • Patents viewed as source of more research funding

  12. Conclusions • pBR322 engineered in response to fear of recombinant DNA • High demand and safe use of pBR322 helped catalyze acceptance of recombinant DNA research • pBR322 created during time of ideological shift in biological sciences • pBR322 openly shared • Patenting pBR322 may have not significantly altered its dissemination into scientific community

  13. Acknowledgements • Dr. Cook-Deegan • Dr. Ilse Wiechers • GELP Team

  14. Questions?