Feeds

Microsoft goes Darwinian with evolutionary tree patent

Multiplication tables next

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
IBM Hursley Park: Where Big Blue buries the past, polishes family jewels
How the internet of things has deep roots in the English countryside
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Honeybee boffin STINGS OWN WEDDING TACKLE... for SCIENCE
Not the worst place to be stung, says one man
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.