Feeds

Microsoft goes Darwinian with evolutionary tree patent

Multiplication tables next

The next step in data security

A Microsoft patent application has evolutionary biologists worried Redmond could claim standard techniques used by scientists to organize how animals are related through time.

The patent application, which came to light in the August edition of Science, claims invention of methods for mapping biological data to an evolutionary tree. It includes methods for counting evolutionary events as well as grouping evolutionary relatedness from biomolecules.

The patent application was filed July 23, 2007 and credited to Stuart Ozer.

"This patent is written in such a broad language that it appears to swallow up any activity that involves understanding biodiversity though phylogenetics," said William Piel, a phylogeneticst at Yale University quoted in the article.

Piel claims the basic techniques are derived from as far back as when Charles Darwin sketched the first evolutionary tree, and today are used by hundreds of biological systematics software packages. "Microsoft might as well patent the multiplication tables," Piel said.

Because such a patent could potentially hobble an entire scientific field, evolutionary biologists will surely be keeping a closer eye on Microsoft's newfound interest in gene-splicing software. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.