Feeds

Microsoft goes Darwinian with evolutionary tree patent

Multiplication tables next

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.