April 13,1998 The Nat,inn.

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ARTICLES

1i

The Biotec,. I

Human l i f e s’ht

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n little more than a generation, our definition of life and the sensational headlines and captured the public imagination, many
meaning of existence is likely to be radically altered. Long-held forces are quietly converging to create this powerful new social
assumptions about nature, including our own human nature, current.At the epicenter is a technology revolution unmatched in
are likely to be rethought. Many age-old practices regarding all of history in its power to remake ourselves, our institutions
sexuality, reproduction, birth and parenthood could be partially and our world: Scientists are beginning to reorganize life at the
abandoned. Ideas about equality and democracy are also likely to genetic level. The new biotechnologies are already reshaping a
be redefined, as well as our vision of what is meant by terms such wide range of fields, including forestry, agriculture, animal hus-
as “free will” and “progress.” Our very sense of self and society bandry, mining, energy, bioremediation, packaging and construc-
will likely change during what I call the emerging Biotech tion materials, pharmaceuticals, medicine, and food and drink.
Century, as it did when the early Renaissance spirit swept over Before our eyes lies an uncharted new landscape whose con-
medieval Europe more than 600 years ago. tours are being shaped in thousandsof biotechnology laboratories
Although Dolly the sheep and talk of cloning have gathered around the world.

a new cosmological narrative about evolution is tainment and informationservices-although much less attention beginning to challenge the neo-Darwinian citadel with a view has been focused on it in the media and public policy. Du Pont.000 genes ready scouting the continents. the ability to isolate. Transnationalcompanies argue Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the World (Tarcher/ that patent protection is essential if they are to risk financial re- Putnam). enter. the computer is providing the communications and and corporate boardrooms in the North. “This is the information age. just as the industrial age access to’and con- medicine are being consolidated under the umbrella of giant trol over fossil fuels and valuable metals helped determine “life” companies in the emerging biotech marketplace. to genetic technologies are fusinginto a powerful new technological sell off its entire chemical division in 1997 and anchor its re. which are of human behavior and the new sociobiology that favors nature beginning to demand an equitable sharing of the fruits of the over nurture are providing a cultural context for the widespread biotech revolution. researchers john. organs and organisms. therefore. manipulate the new green gold resides in scientific laboratories Q Sixth. The consolidation of the life-science industry by logical information is probably the most interesting information global commercial enterprises rivals the consolidations. an emerging eugenics science. Multinational corporations are al- 0 Fourth. animals and humans with rare genetic traits that might have fu- netic screening. creating a new store of genetic capital commerce. the mapping of the approximately 100. a new communicationstool to or- for specific economic ends. mergers we are deciphering and trying to decide to change. as the primary base. manipulate and exploit genetic resources a new supporting sociology. D. not if. makes up the biotech economy. companies to locate. ically engineered tissue. Typical of the trend is the bold decision by the Mon. the globalization of commerce and trade make pos- sible the wholesale reseeding of the Earth’s biosphere with a Human Life as Intellectual Property laboratory-conceived Second Genesis. that make up the human genome and new breakthroughs in ge. development and marketing in biotech-based technologies rative efforts by saying. somatic gene therapy and ture market potential. argue . Rohm and Haas.dium to manage the genetic information that SmitbKline Beecham. While the technological expertise needed to acceptance of new biotechnologies. Together. are paving the way for the wholesale tion for their new “inventions. biotechnologies. 0 Seventh. and bio- and products. cell lines. an artificially produced bioindustrial nature designed to replace nature’s own evolution. for use in the bioindustrial age. genes. a spate of new scientific studies on the genetic basis zations and countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Together. for the first time. a global trading market to reseed the earth techniques and other biotechnologies allow scientistsand biotech with an artificial Second Genesis. Eli Lilly.12 The Nation. The eco- ary scheme. hoping to locate microbes. ark quickly maneuver.” the twenty-first century-computer telecommunications. C. It’s all a and acquisitions going on in the other great technology arenas of question of how. After locating the desired traits. theories of evolution are beginning to remake the world.1998 Global life-sciencecompanies like Novartis. The new ideas about of technological and social nature provide the legitimiz- forces come together to create The economic and political forces that contyol ing framework for the Bio- a new “operating matrix. Life-science fields ranging from agriculture to world economy. Computationaltechnologies and santo Corporation. biotech the imminent prospect of genetic engineering of human eggs. long a world leader in chemical products. download. organizational me.the new cultural currents. The Biotech tropical ecosystems of the South. Up. Merck and Dow Chemical. ganize and manage economic activity at the genetic level and a 0 Second.catalogue and organ- ing to exert their influence and control over the new genetic ize genetic information. April 13. ciety are amplifications of they create a framework for a new economic era: nature’s own principles a&. most of the genetic re- sources that are essential to fuel the new revolution lie in the This article is adapted froin Jeremy Rijkin’s new book. computers and revised mercial incentive to exploit the new resources. in turn. ing and surgery. Recombinant DNA mercial protection. companies are modifying them and then seeking patent protec- sperm and embryonic cells. justifiable. plants. Microsoft chainnan Bill Gates sums up the new collabo- search. the awarding of patents on genes. Glmo Wellcome.” I tech Century by suggesting see seven strands composing * the planet’s genetic resources will exercise that the way we are reorgan- the operating matrix of the tremendous power over the world economx . the global life-science industry. Southern countries. human gene screen- processes used to alter them. Q Third. new forms of com- raw resource for future economic activity. genet. the Biotech Century brings with it a newcresource making the gene pool available. however. Rijlcin is president of the Foundation on Economic Treads sources and years of research and development bringing new and in Washington. of nature compatible with the operating assumptions of the new Great economic changes in history occur when a number technologies and the new global economy. are using computersto decipher. including DNA chips. identify and recombine genes is In short. control over world markets. reality.new cosmological narrative. enes are the “green gold” of the Biotech Century. as well as the life patents. a new set of transformingtechnologies. All over the world. is giving the marketplace the com. meeting with strong resistance from nongovernmental organi- 0 Fifth. 0 First.A global life-science industry is already beginning nomic and political forces that control the genetic resources to wield unprecedented power over the vast biological resources of the planet will exercise tremendous power over the future of the planet.” alteration of the human species and the birth of a commercially Corporate effortsto enclose and commodifythe gene pool are driven eugenics civilization. useful products to market. izing our economy and so- Biotech Century.

S. contrary to the G u a m view of nature. has Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown responded curtly: been the subject of increasing controversy since it became public Under our laws. and cell lines taken from citizens world. Project sponsors hope that by sampling the genomes of the In March’1995. making it surprisesyy that could be a boon to humankind in its search for the first human cell line from an indigenous population to be new ways to improve the genetic makeup of the race. by the Guaymi General Congress in Panama waged a public protest. a group of SouthPacific island Sforza defends the research. An Alaska businessmanfound that his own additional patent claims inthe pecting the human genome United States and Europe for itself in remote regions of the body parts had been patented by U.S. as well as those of many other countries. several months later when well as pharmaceutical and the U. make their sovereign space a “patent-free zone. The public protest forced the U.S. may have that might prove important and useful in the future. U. is consideredto be an from the Human Genome Diversity Project may make such no. without advising the Guaymi of its intentions..G.S. The 1.L. The controversy over patenting genes from in- gency of late with increasing reports of scientific institutions as digenous peoples flared again.I. patented. when the Rural to the disease. discovered that the U. could some form of compensation for their contribution to the biotech so wantonly violate the genetic privacy of his tribe and that the revolution.” The United netic variety exists before it’s irretrievably lost.” says Samir Brahmachari. Patent Office issued a patent for few groups of indigenous peoples that have remained isolated the Papua New Guinea Human T-lymphotrophic virus (HTLV-I) from the rest of the outside world.He suggests. “Name any genetic disorder tions .S.S. he felt about research efforts to secure blood sambles. villagers and peasant farniers who isolate. patent application.S. subject that the group planned to take blood samples from the world‘s matter relating to human cells is patentable and there is no provi- 5. then- geneticist and professor emeritus at Stanford University. and international patents on a virus derived from the cell In January 1996the Indian Society of Human Genetics issued line of a 26-year-old Guaymi Indian woman from Panama. skeletal and fossil material” pending sample fkom the woman and developed the cell line.000 linguistically distinct populations in order to assess their sion for considerations relating to the sources of the cells that genetic makeup and search for any unique genetic traits they may be the subject of a patent application.that violates the integrity of life precedent in the recent historic decision by the nations of the itself-and our deepest sense of morality. researchers because hade it clear that any such agreement should specify “the ob- members of this remote Indian community carry a unique virus jectives of the project and the anticipated scientific material that stimulates the production of antibodies that scientists ’ believe imd economic benefits and the manner that they are to be shared might be useful in A I D S and leukemia research. are beginning to take a third position.. For example. as well from their biological inheritance in the global marketplace: as some countries. That being the case. dubbed the “vampireproject” by its nations prepared a joint proposal and communiqu6 that would critics.. Luigi .I.Luca Cavalli-Sforza. The GUaymi formal agreements between collaboratingparties. they will find some “genetic to the Department of Health and Human Services. that might confer the genetic advantage in hopes of finding a new ganization. price-that it should remain an open commons and continue and our place in it. they claim was shocked that an august scientific body like the N. with its that the commercial value of the genetic information emerging diverse cultures and inbred populations. government to withdraw its The debate over life patents has taken on even greater ur.H. April 13. a large group of people appear to be immune The concerns of critics came alive in 1993.impractical. both at present and in the future.” ever-present threat. world to maintain ihe continent of Antarctica as a global. in West Bengal. enhance and preserve Isidro Acosta. . of the extinction of these populations or through their melding T into the general population. where cholera is an should somehow share in the advantages. . president of the congress. A re. Cavalli-Sforza says that while his he Indian government has also expressed its deep misgivings personal view is that there should be no patents on DNA. Bangalore. When the effort headed by Dr. profes- event that there is some gene that becomes commercially valuable.” The action came in the wake . a population government of the Solomon Islands issued a protest. could then seek to patent a genetic trait of the Guaymi and profit A growing number of nongovernmental organizations. I never imagined people would patent plants and animals.H. the U.to take human to be used freely by present and future generations. however. ideal setthg for gene prospecting.H. cell line was of particular interest to N. They cite ’ DNA and patent its products. therefore. saying it is important to seek out whatever remaining ge. C. but the group. India. Scientists are now searching for the gene or genes Advancement Foundation International. said at the time that he valuable herbs and plant crops.A. To patent human material . The Hum& Genome a court ruled that he had no pyoperty n‘ghts! of the Solomon Islands and Diversity Project.14 The Nation.1998 that the real research and development effort takes place years Upon learning about the patent application. a set of guidelines calling for a ban on the transport of %hole searcher from the National Institutes of Health had taken a blood blood. Cavalli. government had sought both form of treatment for the disease. government filedtwo biotech companies biopros. cell-lines. U.. action. that “in the unlikely and we have the mutations. DNA. either as a result States quietly dropped the patent claim in 1996. com- mons free of commercial exploitation. sor of molecular biophysics at the Indian Institute of Science in the people who donated it-not the individual. a scientific Papua New Guinea. It’s arguing that the gene pool ought not to be for sale at any fundamentally immoral. a nongovernmental or.Angry at the U. representativesof before the scientists ever seteyes on the organism and gene. government.S.

The cell line is estimated to be worth more than $3 billion.S. the court argued. a U. What market in the coming century. an Alaska supposed to contain the partial sequences for nearly 100. whose sales exceeded $211billion in 1995. “The issue is a nightmare. holding that he had no property right over his own body tissues. without his knowledge. agrochemical company Ciba-Geigy-is typical. a U. Noe Zamel.L. Corange Internationalmade a $100 mil. Novartis and Eli Lilly have developed commercial off the record to Nature magazine’s editor.A.7 million cancer agents. diagnosed as having a rare cancer and underwent treatment at lion research agreement with Gene Medicine. modifying their genetic makeup and returning them the disease. However. giving rise to charges that it is putting commercial patent covering the technique for removing cells fiom a pa. Council of Medical Research said it should have been notified science complexes from which to fashion a bioindustrial of the research in advance.6 billion the t seems there is no place on earth too remote for the gene same year on licensing arrangementswith them. quana and other genomics firmsmaintain that market incentives Du Pont and AgrEvo. Meanwhile. Moore had been on atherosclerosis. genomics companies like Sequana to the patient’s body. Novartis is ’ Company scientists took blood samples from 270 of the is- the world’s largest agrochemical company. and licensed nium pharmaceuticals. a strip of ’ 1 ket. from the N. as Indian law forbids the export of world Global pharmaceutical companies spent more than biological material without permission from the I. Human body parts.C. creating life. Genetic Therapy held license on a broad in the field. J.L. covered that Moore’s spleen tissue produced a blood protein that quana Therapeutics to advance gene work on obesity and facilitates the growth of white blood cells that are valuable anti- diabetes. Pfizer. peutics of La Jolla. claiming a agreement with Human Genomics. Dow Elanco. The university created a cell line from Moore’s equity investment in Genset of France.C. In April 1997 the LosAngeles Times reported on The concentration of power is impressive. Pharmacia and genomes are being patented by commercial companies in the Upjohn have invested in Incyte. thus far the fore the merger. a company doing genomic research to the Sandoz Pharmaceutical Corporation. National Institutes of Health was il- 1 Bio-takeovers legally securing DNA and blood samples from patients at private eye hospitals in India without obtaining the appropriate author- ization required to take samples out of the countryeKesearchers lobal conglomeratesare rapidly buying up biotech start- up companies. including the Monsanto Corporation. second-largest land’s 300 residents and later reported that it had located two seed company and second-largest pharmacebtical firm. Sequana is one of a handful of trol 37 percent of the $15 billion global seed market. Ten life-science companies con. hunters to go.R.I.H. The Sequana team traveled. The new biotech start-up companies dedicated to gene prospecting. The Indian businesses. and in addition I to outright acquisition spent approximately$1. California. are purchasing equity holdings in and establishingresearch Others aren’t so sure. commercially and could not hope to turn a profit if they couldn’t Other global life-science firms are close on the heels of keep their research proprietary-at least until it’s patented. and food and drink companies. in 1995. f i i whose database is United States. Se- Novartis.5 billion in 1995buying up biotech firms. or night blindness. a US.-based genomic propertyright over his own tissue.1998 of revelations that the US. .-based genomic company Foreign nationals aren’t the only ones whose cell lines and that discovered a breast cancer gene. pharmaceutical giants are the best and most efficient way to advance the research. a University of agrochemical companies control 81 percent ofthe $29 billion Toronto medical geneticist. relationships with Myriad. ~ world’s top ten pharmaceutical firms control 47 percent of The “genomics” firms are on the commercial frontier of the the $197 billion pharmaceutical market.000 businessman named John Moore found his own body parts had genes. Eli Lilly has entered into an agreement with Millen. by way of a South African Navy ship. The top ten a scientific expedition led by Dr. In a precedent-setting case in California. as well as entered into spleen tissue and obtained a patent on its “inventiony’in 1984. Court ruled against Moore. Be. “candidate genes” responsible for asthma. by U. I 43 percent of the $15 billion veterinary pharmaceuticalsmar. who spoke Bayer. and financed by Sequana Thera- global agrochemical market. $3. a $69 million research agreement with the genomic firm. Toppingthe life-science list are ten transnatio@ food and drink companies.S.S. SmithKline Beecham has made a $125 million research Moore subsequentlysued the University of California. For their part.H.A. considerations above collaborative efforts to find a cure for tient. been patented. Scientists enterprises-the pharmaceutical company Sandoz and the hope to find the gene or genes responsible and patent them. a U. agribusiness and agro.G. Ten firms control emerging biotech revolution. GIaxo Wellcome has a five-year agreement with Se. Synthelabo of France has bought a $9.” said one ge- agreements with many of the human genomic companies. Sandoz purchased Genetic Therapy company has refused to share its findings with other researchers for $295 million.16 The Nation. to the tiny volcanic island of Tristan da Cunha. a giant new global makes this small inbred local population interesting to Zamel firm resulting from the $27 billion merger of two Swiss and his team is that half of them suffer from asthma. The acquisition guaranteedNovartis a acknowledge that they’re in business to exploitthe human genome foothold in the fledgling science of human gene therapy. Several of the largest life-sciencecompanies are strategi- forty square miles in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean often re- ferred to as the world’s loneliest island. April 13. An attending physician and university researcher dis- firm. Novartis. genomic U. Its few hundred residents cally positioned to control much of the global bioindustrial are the descendants of British sailors who arrived in 1817. In 1990 the California Supreme firm. neticist working for a large pharmaceutical company.5 National Eye Institute were searching for genes chemical concerns.S. seed companies. medical ahd health that cause retinitis pigmentosa. pharmaceutical.

the way we date and marry. the near- pluirztzfi the source of the cells.000 or so genes that constitute the genetic legacy of our the cell’s value. Peter Quesenberry.liability.for more than $70 million. Some. who allegedly obtained the species will be patented. covering all ing that every human being has intrinsic value and “God-given human bone-marrow stem cells. Feminists. California. Systemix.S. often before even inform Moore of the commercial potential of his tissue and. This patent on a human body rights” and cannot be made the personal commercial property part was awarded despite the fact that Systemix had done nothing of another human being. over the issue of human slavery. Genome Mapping Research Team. The patent is so broad that it allows this one dividual and shared realities will be deeply touched by the new company to refuse the use of any blood cells from the umbilical technologies of the Biotech Century. . to retain and exploit the of global pharmaceutical. and then wins a Pulitzer Prize. century. the signed his government post to head up a genomics company court upheld the primary claim of the university that the cell funded by a venture capital fund. with abolitionists argu- of Palo Alto. Nobel laureate Dr. A number of scien- the majority’s rejection of plaintiff‘s conversion cause of action tists were upset because Venter sought patents on genes before does not mean that body parts may not be bought and sold for research or commercial purpose or that no private individual or even knowing their function. the company now possesses commercial control over this to be conceived of as having intrinsic. animal rights groups. Craig Venter. agribusiness and biotech full economic value of their ill-gotten gains free of. of our beliefs about the very nature of life and whether it is Still. the way we have our babies. Blood cells firom the umbilical cord are particularly important The Backlash for marrow transplants. How. the ownership of all human blood cells that have come from the um. Patent Office. it’s likely that within less than ten years. “Where do you draw the a new generation of genetic activists is beginning to challenge line? Can you patent a hand?.000 genes nomination. Dr. researchers working on the Human GenomeProject were shocked He wrote that and angry. in large part because of the quickened pace including the titular heads of virtually every major Protestant de- of mapping and sequencing the approximately 100. calledtheventer patent claims “sheer terials above the marketplace. Leukemia Society ofAmerica. the very concept of patenting life. companies. consumer Sinai Hospital ofToronto asks rhetorically. The company made no change in the blood itself. Still. It should be emphasizedthat this patent was awarded simply he debate over life patents is one of the most important issues because Biocyte was able to isolate the blood cells and deep. arguing that life is imbued On the other hand. As soon as a gene is tagged. entity may benefit economically from the fortuitous value of co-discoverer of the DNA double helix and the former head of plaintiff’s diseased cells. part of the human body. 1998 could not be bartered as a commodity in the marketplace. human family has picked up substantial momentum over the In May 1995 a‘coalition of more than 200 religious leaders. life-science conglomerates and traded as mere utilities in the Arnold Slutsky of the Samuel Lunenfield Institute of the Mount marketplace. James Watson. the way we express our faith. ever. duced to commercial intellectual property controlled by global ing and are laying claims to vast regions of the human genome. that make up the human genome. The last great debate of this kind occurred in the nineteenth A similarlybroad patent was awarded to a U. value.S: taxpayers. could justifiably be At the same time. but permits defendants. to a U. past several years. The abolitionists’ argument ultimately whatsoever to alter or engineer the cells. the court did say that the “inventors” had a responsibilityto its “discoverer” is likely to apply for a patent.” Still. we perceive the world around us and our place in it-all our in- peutic purposes. that reason alone. The patent gives the firm the way our children are raised and educated. country in the world where it was still being practiced. does he around the world are coalescinginto a new and powerfid counter- give the family a percentage of his winnings?’ vailing force to the growing genetic commerce that trades in the The entrepreneurial scramble to patent the genome of the blueprints of life.. for knowing the function or role of the gene.S.A. re- might be liable for some kind of monetary damage.18 The Nation.000 human brain genes. while not the property of Moore. . The irony of the decision seeking patents on more than 2.S. company named Biocyte. making it a very valuable commercial T asset. The way the case of a patent awarded by the European Patent Office we eat. the way bilical cord of a newborn child and are being used for any thera. ever to fzce the human family. from obtaining the benefit of ly 100. line itself. many in the molecular biology field see with intrinsic value and therefore can never be legitimately re- no apparent ethical problem or moral dilemma in gene prospect. or mere utility. way we engage in politics. even in the medi. firm. Far from elevating these biological ma- the Human GenomeProject.H.were stunned by the Patent Office’s decision. the medical affairs vice chairman of the Like the anti-slavery abolitionists of the nineteenth century. cord to any individual or institution unwilling to pay the patent fee. especially when we stop to consider that the commercial institutions-are illustrated quite poignantly in biotech revolution will affect every aspect of our lives.the way we work. quipped. more than a hundred Catholic bishops and Jewish. health advocates and socialjustice organizations an article on a family. the majority’s holding simply bars lunacy. farmers. Many was captured by Judge Allen Broussard in his dissentingopinion. The increasing consolidation of corporate control over the T he extraordinary implications of privatizing the human genetic blueprints of life as well as the technologies to exploit body-parceling it out in the form of intellectual property to them is alarming.L. In 1991J. Life patents strike at the core freeze them. “If a journalist writes organizations. Venter and his colleagues filed applications claimed as the property of U.I. charging Venter with attempting to profit from re- search initially paid for by U. had breached their fiduciary responsibilityand then head of the N. and legally sanctioned slavery was abolishedin every cal establishment. chemical.C. Abril13. by the U. making them the exclusive property cells from plaintiff by improper means. prevailed.

“There’s a great deal of campus activism. The effort was organizedby the Foundation shifting authorship from God to scientists and transnational on Economic Trends.. a Latino group that is fighting d growing careerism and declining interest California’s anti-aff irmative action policy and in politics. tempt by “man7’to stake his own claim as the prime mover and to come together on an issue of mutual interest in the twentieth sovereign architect of life on earth. Mexico. selves. IT AIN’T THE SIXTIES-BUT T H E E ’ S PLENTY O F ACTIVISM QN CAMPUS. connection had never been politically active before. including tutoring at local elementary Organizing. a Women’s Center and a gay/lesbian paign at OccidentalCollege. reducing theologians? Either life is God’s creation or a human invention.C. a national organiza- cally comparableto counterparts at other four-year colleges. R/IECHA/ALAS. tial quality that might differentiate it from the strictly mechani- an executive with the United Methodist Church.” tive college and an unusually diverse one. was instigatedby the Free Bunna Coalition.” gible and immediate. announcedtheir opposition opposition to the patenting of the life forms and the parts them- to the granting of patents on animal and human genes. which I head. But a few weeks earlier. clearinghouse.S. in which students $ discussiongroups.a Boston. Buddhist and Hindu leaders. News & World Many of the students involved in protest over Arc03 Bunna Report ranked it number one in commitmentto diversity in 1997.L. Occidental is a selec.”The story summarized a U. have all but disappeared. The effort Nevertheless.A. “We believe cal? The battle to keep the earth’s gene pool an open commons. and the Student Labor Action Coalition (SLAC). In addition. is going to become one of the as such should not be patented as inventions. and be- corporations when it is freely given as a gift of God. from Plano. “Genetic rights. said. not humans. Hunt . Texas. John Slaughter. its students and faculty are economicallyand politi. Massachusetts-based training program and schools. try to find ways to make systemic change. they are unanimous in their much of the political agenda of the Biotech Century. century. religious leaders . 9 Intemational working on human rights and soli- who sits on the Atlantic Richfield (Arco) board. 1 he front-page headline in the January Los The campus has a crazy-quilt of student 1’ Angeles Times didn’t mince words: Tresh- men Get High Marks-in Apathy. organs. a 1. had failed to report on a successfulprotest cam. tion pushing U. “but some students get fixstrated Huber’s analysis certainly reflects the reality at Occidental Col.the largest assemblageof U. is religious leaders oppose “processs7patents for the techniques likely to emerge as the seminal issue of the coming era.600-student liberal arts institution. a freshman prograiti at Occideiital ColIege in Los Angeles.VC. “Students like doing something that is tan- War or civil rights. devoid of any unique or essen- but it can’t be both. when they see that it may not be changing anything. explains Melissa Mazin. ask the tween h t r i ~ ~and ~ i utility c value. Then they lege. much less its govern- Peter Dreier is a profssor ofpolitics and director of the public policy ment’s human rights abuses. There’s no single focal point.”While not all the critical struggles of the Biotech Age. like the Vietnam C. so it’s harder to see.S. close to half the student body is involved in com- i “That’s typical. 1 activism. “but it’s spread around a lot of have a politicizing impact on students.” said Sonya Huber ofthe Center for Campus munity service projects. statement criticizing the oil giant’s support for the military which recruits students to support union organizing campaigns. . II LIKE. said that the patenting of life marked the most serious What might it mean for subsequent generations to grow up in challenge to the notion of God’s creation in history. These “direct service” activities often at any time since the late sixties. not charity. defining used to create transgenic life forms. that humans and animals are creations of God. and free of commercial exploitation. MAN.” Huber claims coordinated by the student-run Center for Volunteerism and there are as many students involved in social activism today as Community Service. How can life a world where they come to think of all life as mere invention- be defined as an invention to be profited from by scientists and where the boundaries between the sacred and the profane. who was a key organizer of the protest.’ explained Sara Hunt. They are keenly aware of the profound consequences of tissues and organisms. working with homeless shelters and abused women. Abril13. different issues. including environmentalistswho pro- mote recycling and research siting of hazard- ous waste facilities in Los Angelis County. Jaydee Hanson.’” she says. located about three 8 group that bring speakersto campus and sponsor miles from the Times building. to issue a public darity efforts. of nt- I PETERDBETEB. US. the paper educating the campus about events in Chiapas. corporations to divest from Burma. “Lots of students here had never heard of Burma.S. 19 Muslim. Speaking for the coalition. organizations like Amnesty persuaded the collegepresident. dictatorship in Burma.-sponsorednational survey of first-year college students that . 1998 The Nation.’s director. companies and are determined to hold the line against any at- The coalition. but it and volunteering for the AIDS Service Center-much of it hardly ever gets covered in the mainstreammedia.” in turn. life itself to an objectified status.