Wednesday, May 30, 2007

DNA-based watermarks using the DNA-Crypt algorithm

DNA-based watermarks using the DNA-Crypt algorithm: The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the application of watermarks based on DNA sequences to identify the unauthorized use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) protected by patents. Predicted mutations in the genome can be corrected by the DNA-Crypt program leaving the encrypted information intact.

I don't know if this will work in practice, but if it does it could be very problematic. In any case, something like it is likely to work well enough in the lab that some company would get the idea of using it. But the watermarks could leak out in several ways, including pollination and bacteria-mediated exchanges of genetic material. An innocent farmer could be sued because some of its produce is "watermarked" involuntarily through one of those routes. They might not afford to defend themselves from the charge that they are infringing someone's patent on a genetically-engineered plant, and end up having to pay protection money (shades of RIAA).

1 comment:

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