Genetic Interest Group

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The Genetic Interest Group (GIG) is a London-based national alliance of patient organisations with a membership of over 130 charities. Its stated aim is to "support children, families and individuals affected by genetic disorders".

Life Patent Directive

The "Directive on the Legal Protection of Biotechnological Inventions" would allow for the patenting of genes, cells, plants, animals, human body parts and genetically modified or cloned human embryos. GIG had publicly opposed attempts to patent genes, stating that "there is something fundamentally unacceptable about any institution, corporation, or individual having ownership over part of a human being" [1].

In March 1997, a pamphlet called Patents for Life was published. This lobbied MEPs to vote to pass the gene patenting directive into law. The name of GIG's director was listed on the pamphlet as a supporter. In July 1997 when MEPs arrived at the European Parliament to vote on the directive, they were confronted by a protest, featuring wheelchair users, in favour of the legislation. This demonstration was organised by Alistair Kent who claimed they were about to be denied the chance of a cure if MEPs did not vote for the Life Patent Directive. This protest is thought to have been hugely influential in the subsequent approval of the directive.


Head office

Regional staff

Source: [2]



Genetic Interest Group
Unit 4D, Leroy House,
436 Essex Road
London N1 3QP

Phone +44 (0)20 7704 3141
Fax +44 (0)20 7359 1447

External links