Feeds

Microsoft goes Darwinian with evolutionary tree patent

Multiplication tables next

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
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?