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Many genome sequencing projects have been the subject of patent applications. To be successful, the sequence requires an associated function and industrial application, thus the information concerning the associated gene function, including protein sequence structure, activity, molecular mass, etc., should be included in the application. Gene functions for industrial application extend to include the use of particular enzymes providing an advantage in carrying out a reaction over existing methods or enhancing an existing process.

Plasmids and other transposable genetic elements are included in DNA sequences which may be patented, but these are generally considered micro-organisms for the purpose of gaining patent protection.