Reporter 452, 22 May 2000


Patent profit motive behind genome race

Mike Parry
Leeds Environment Centre

It should be explained that the contribution of Biology lecturer David Coates (Leeds shares genome victory, Reporter 451) to gene company Celera’s effort to win the race to map the human gene sequence is somewhat controversial.

Celera’s intention to patent the ‘discovery’ and place legal restrictions on its use effectively means that its benefits will only be available to those who are able to pay rather than to everybody. As a result, Celera hopes to become richer than Bill Gates.

It seems that Leeds University wants a piece of the action too.

That this article about Celera’s genome activities was written uncritically should not surprise regular readers of the Reporter.

It was, after all, the Reporter (444) which came up with the headline ‘Turkeys with trinkets facing Christmas with a smile’ to head an article proclaiming the virtues of some gruesome new battery-farming technique, again developed at Leeds University.

Two wheels good

Phil Brown
School of Textile Industries

Re. David Shaw’s comments on Vic Rogers-Gentile and his parking theories (Reporter 450): I feel, as a friend of Vic’s, that I have to comment on his behalf since he has retired. Vic never jokes about anything and is taking his retirement very seriously indeed.

Post-retirement, Dr Rogers-Gentile can be seen in and around bus lanes in Leeds on his bicycle due to the lack of cycle lanes.

Vic often gets very upset about being overtaken and run off the road by speeding milk-floats. He tells me it is very difficult to find secure parking for his penny-farthing in the city centre and indeed has the same problems as David Shaw, hence his support for such a worthy cause.

As a motorcyclist myself, I would like to see the use of motorcycles allowed in bus lanes, secure motorcycle parking in the University and the installation of a race track on St George’s Field.

Weekend motorcycle racing will certainly raise money for the University and add other well-needed attractions to the campus like chip shops, greasy cafés and stunt-riding down University Road.

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