Patenting Human Genes Now Verboten!

imagesIn the midst of the recent landmark US Supreme Court decisions overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, here's  one you may have missed – on June 13th the United States Supreme Court announced unanimously that  isolated human genes cannot be patented. This is a huge step forward for individual rights. Why?

The decision throws out patents held by Utah-based Myriad Genetics on 2 genes—BRCA1 and BRCA2—that when mutated cause breast and other types of cancer. Researchers, physicians, and patients who sued Myriad are claiming victory because the ruling means that the company no longer has a monopoly on diagnostic tests based on these two genes. This could result in increased competition, falling costs, and greater access for low-income patients.

And that would only have been the beginning. More info here.