Supreme Court Rules: No Patents for Human Genes

The US Supreme Court has ruled that isolated human genes cannot be patented. The ruling came after Myriad Genetics attempted to defend patents on breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. It was determined that Myriad did not invent the BRCA genes, and therefore could not control them. ABC News reports:

Biotechnology companies, racing to create personalized tests and treatments tailored to a person's genetic makeup, were closely watching this case.

Professor Lori Andrews of the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law said, "Today's decision allows any doctor or scientist to use the breast cancer gene for diagnosis or treatment. This means all genetic tests will become affordable and more researchers will be able to look for cures."

Andrews filed a brief opposing Myriad's patent but says that biotechnology companies will be adequately protected if they genetically engineer a product.

The challenge to Myriad's patents was brought by scientists, researchers and patients who believed that the patents stood in the way of further research on the genes and limit the availability testing. The ACLU represented the groups in court and argued the court should invalidate the patents because they cover a product of nature and not an actual invention.

Read the full story here: