Hoping to end patents on human genes and genetic material, Representatives Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Dave Weldon (R-FL) have introduced HR 977, the Genomic Research and Accessibility Act. Becerra said in a February 9 press statement that the bill, once enacted, "would put an immediate end to the practice of patenting any and all portions of the human genome."
Analysts estimate that approximately 20% of the human genome is already patented. HR 977 would instruct the Patent Office to reject all future patent applications on human genetic material. It does not affect previously issued patents, though they would eventually expire given the limited term of exclusivity applicable to all patents.