This segment originally aired Feb. 16, 2017 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.
CRISPR is a new transformative technology that uses part of a bacteria to cut and paste new information into DNA — and it’s the key to editing the human genome.
Patenting the technology has introduced fresh tensions to the already highly competitive field. The Federal Patent Trial and Appeal Board recently ruled that the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard is entitled to a CRISPR patent, and that that patent doesn’t interfere with previous patents granted to the University of California at Berkley in 2012. What that means in practice isn’t so clear, however.
To learn more about how the biggest biotech discovery in decades got stuck in legal limbo, watch this.