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Knockout mice - Waiting for a patent

British band Uniform released their album Populous in 1998. The album contains a track called Knockout Mice.

The lyrics elaborate on so-called knockout mice, i.e., mice genetically modified by order of the customer. Certain genes are turned off - knocked out; hence the name - and replaced or disrupted with an artificial piece of DNA. The so-modified mice are used in experiments and research.

Engineer me until I'm cancer prone Splice me, price me I'm a patent waiting to happen, Algernon of the whole genome

Inventions related to such genetic modifications can be subject to patent protection. The phrase "I'm a patent waiting to happen" is an allusion to this.

The word Algernon seems to be a reference to the sci-fi short story Flowers for Algernone, in which the protagonist of moderate intelligence undergoes an experimental surgical technique to increase his intelligence. The procedure was before applied to a mouse called Algernone which plays a tragical role in the story.

Overall, the lyrics are again an impressive example of science-related criticism involving the patent system.

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