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Poet attempts the ultimate in self-invention - patenting her own genes
A poet and casino waitress from Bristol, angered at the mass patenting of human genes by science and big business, is trying to become the first person to patent herself.
Donna MacLean's application has been given a number - GB0000180.0 - by the patent office. In a letter, officials told Ms MacLean that they would check the legality and originality of the application if she sent them a £130 fee.
To patent an invention, the inventor has to prove it is novel and useful. In her application, Ms MacLean claimed she is both.
"It has taken 30 years of hard labour for me to discover and invent myself, and now I wish to protect my invention from unauthorised exploitation, genetic or otherwise," she wrote.
"I am new: I have led a private existence and I have not made the invention of myself public. I am not obvious."
Ms MacLean said she had many industrial applications. "For example, my genes can be used in medical research to extremely profitable ends," she wrote. "I therefore wish to have sole control of my own genetic material."