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Professor Donrich Thaldar explains why newly generated genomic data do not belong to anyone.
Determining ownership can be complex. While some jurisdictions have specific legislation on genomic data ownership, in the absence of such laws, general property law rules apply. It may be surprising to learn that the data subject does not automatically become the owner, as property rights are separate from personality rights. It is argued that a newly generated genomic data instance should be viewed as res nullius (belonging to no one), which allows a research institution that generates a genomic data instance to acquire ownership in it through appropriation.
Further reading: The multidimensional legal nature of personal genomic sequence data: A South African perspective.
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