© Science Museum/Science and Society Picture Library
These two mice are direct descendants of the first mammal to be patented. In 1984 scientists at Harvard Medical School announced the creation of 13 strains of mice which had been genetically engineered, by the insertion of a cancer-causing gene, to make them liable to develop cancer. By working with such mice, medical researchers can test potential anti-cancer drugs. Harvard applied for a patent on the mice in 1984. In 1987 the US Patent Office announced that 'higher life forms' were able to be patented, and in 1988 granted Harvard's application.