"It's like a cancer in the body of science," says Yuri Lazebnik of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. "If we don't take care of it, it will only get worse."

The cancer, in Lazebnik's opinion, is the runaway commercialization of science. As researchers increasingly view their discoveries as potential blockbuster products, and new biotech companies spring up as fast as weeds along the intellectual highway, some academic scientists may be becoming more guarded about sharing their reagents and discussing their latest finds.

Keith Yamamoto
Not everyone views the evolution of science into a for-profit venture as a plague, but many agree that it raises issues that need to be addressed. "Doing science has become more complex in many ways," says Keith Yamamoto of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). "Science is technology-driven," he says, and as technologies become more specialized, the academic community needs to determine...

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