Petri dish cells Umberto Salvagnin/Flickr

无原罪怀胎专利?

哈勒姆——1899年,德裔美籍科学家雅克·勒布通过人工单性生殖(即在未受精情况下操控卵子细胞以促成胚胎发育)实现了海胆的无性繁殖。他关于哺乳动物完全无性生殖的推论——更不用说他使用了“无原罪怀胎”一词来形容上述过程——引发了公众关于科学家是否应当“扮演上帝”的忧虑。

随着国际干细胞公司(ISCC)在欧洲为一项激活未受精卵细胞单性生殖制造干细胞株的技术申请专利,现在已经是时候回答这个问题。关键在于如何回答这一问题。

为经过激活的单性生殖细胞申请专利并不是什么新鲜事。上述细胞类似于人类胚胎,而按照欧盟专利法的规定,人类胚胎不允许申请专利。继2011年欧洲法院裁定上述细胞构成人类胚胎后,英国和其他国家均延迟甚至拒绝为单性生殖细胞申请专利。(国际干细胞公司在美国的确拥有干细胞专利。)

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