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Supreme Court Says Naturally Occurring DNA May Not be Patented

The Supreme Court recently ruled that no segment of the human DNA may be patented because they occur naturally in nature. The ruling involves Myriad Genetics of Utah which has found a way to isolate two genes thought to increase risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Those against the Myriad patents claim that to grant the company such rights would not give women options for where to confirm their test results and that the cost of this test could be set by Myriad’s wishes, which is currently a lofty $3,000.

Even though the court ruled against Myriad, the company is still pleased because their testing methods for the genes in question were assured “strong intellectual property protection for our BRAC Analysis test moving forward,” said Peter D. Meldrum, Myriad president and chief executive officer.

Sandra Park, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, said, “Today, the court struck down a major barrier to patient care and medical innovation. Myriad did not invent the BRCA genes and should not control them. Because of this ruling, patients will have greater access to genetic testing and scientists can engage in research on these genes without fear of being sued.”

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