Designer Genes

Supreme Court rules genes can’t be patented

CNN News reports that Myriad Genetics just lost its two most valuable patents: BRCA1 and BRCA2, genes whose mutations are known to cause breast cancer. The pair were at the center of the Supreme Court's contentious case on whether or not genes can be patented. Due to their legal claim over the two genes, Myriad was the sole company with the right to test for them in women who feared breast cancer—a two-step, costly procedure. The pricetag involved has discouraged some women from going beyond the preliminary round of testing, leading to increased fatalities. The issue came into the limelight recently after actress Angelina Jolie's NYTimes essay about her double mastectomy, which sparked increased discussion on breast cancer detection and treatment. However, while the court ruled that organic genetic matter is off-limits, it conceded that engineered synthetic material mimicking the original gene may be patentable.

Read it at CNN News

June 14, 2013 2:43 PM