Tag Archive: biology


Open Source Biology

Open Source Biology?  Stephen Friend is trying just that.  Friend is applying Open Source philosophy to the biological sciences in order to speed up pharmaceutical development.

Why would these corporations and universities participate?  How is it in their interests?

My thoughts: it’s about the time value of money.  By speeding up the process of drug development, even if the parties get smaller pieces of the pie, they still come out ahead.  One challenge would be to determine appropriate percentages for each group.

A second challenge would be how to ensure intellectual property protection.  There may be a patent law 102(b) bar with the disclosures coming so much earlier in the process.  Two quick potential solutions: 1) Keep the technology closed within the network (so there’s no public disclosure) and 2) File more patents and file earlier in the processes.   Or the parties could accept the disclosure of the earlier products if the final products are sufficiently valuable and more quickly developed.

(via Slashdot)

Have our own microorganisms solved the classic computer science conundrum?  No, despite the headline, they haven’t.  However immune cells solve a simple version of the problem when faced with a small number of targets.

It appears that our white blood cells do a quick and sophisticated analysis of the targets and their relative distances and come up with a solution comparable with computer algorithms.

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