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December 07, 2006



Great review! I would take Crichton's science with a liberal pinch of salt, though. For example, the bit about the one-fifth of the human genome being privately owned. The human genome is sequenced in its entirety to a high degree of accuracy and is in the public domain, thanks to Sulston, Collins and Lander, who insisted on it. Craig Venter's sequence (private domain) is not as accurate or to as high a resolution. Yes, companies are working on genes of interest, and patenting away, but the acutal genetic code is all safely in the public domain, see the NIH website. Of course, Venter and the HGP sequenced DNA from many different humans....

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David J. Montgomery is a writer and critic specializing in books and publishing. He is an emeritus columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Beast, and has also written for USA Today, the Washington Post, and other fine publications. A former professor of History, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two daughters.

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