Thursday, February 16, 2006

Schatten's CIP application published on Feb. 16: the clone wars begin

Pub. App. number 20060037086 published February 16, 2006.
based on appl.11/003006 filed Dec. 3, 2004.

First claim: A method comprising the steps of: introducing nuclei along with one or more molecular components into an extrusion-enucleated egg, thus creating a nuclear transfer construct; culturing said nuclear transfer construct to produce a viable embryo; transferring said embryo to the oviducts of a female; and producing a cloned animal.

Thus, Schatten adopts Hwang's extrusion method and applies it to cloning.

Claim 37: The method of claim 1, wherein said introducing step comprises performing SCNT.

Claim 49: The method of claim 1, wherein said animal is a primate.

And the rub:

Claim 52: The method of claim 49, wherein said primate is a human.

THUS, Schatten claims a method of cloning humans.
One recalls in April 1987 the PTO ruled that all living things can be patented except human beings, because of the 13th amendment to the Constitution, which outlawed slavery. In April 1998, biologist Stuart Newman and biotech critic Jeremy Rifkin applied for a patent for a “humanzee,” part human and part chimpanzee, in a calculated move designed to re-ignite debate about the morality of patenting life forms and engineering human beings. The US Patent and Trademark Office denied the patent application, acknowledging that, although it has permitted the extensive patenting of biotech-engineered life forms and human DNA, the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution forbids the ownership, and they considered this application to be too close to the patenting of human beings.

Schatten cites Hwang's 2004 Science article:

[0084] Enucleation. Removal of the meiotic spindle and chromosomes was accomplished in two ways. Using the `squish` enucleation method (Hwang, 303 SCIENCE 1669-1674 (2004)) for pre-Metaphase II spindle aspiration, a cumulus-free oocyte was held with a holding micropipette ( inner diameter) and the zona pellucida was partially dissected with a fine glass needle to make a slit near the first polar body.

A claim to cloning is more related to the Hwang/Schatten paper in Nature on Snuppy (the Afghan hound) than to the 2005 paper in Science on patient specific cell lines of humans through SCNT. Snuppy was born on born April 24, 2005; the gestation period is about 60 days.

[IPBiz post 1244]


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