The issue of who owns a cell line—the human source of the original tissues and cells or the scientists who derived the cell line from them—has caught the fancy of two influential legislators. Sen. Albert Gore (D-Tenn.), vice chairman of the Congressional Biomedical Ethics Board, said that present confusion over the issue "could impede important research." He thinks legislation may be required, and would like to see it considered before Congress adjourns in 1988.
Rep. Robert Roe (D-N.J.), chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, seems less certain of the need for legislation, but has strongly urged extensive discussion.
The legislators made their remarks in tandem with the release late last month of a report, "Ownership of Human Tissues and Cells," from the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment.
Despite the report and Congressional interest,...