Supreme Court strikes down gene patents

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dnaWASHINGTON, DC – The Supremes could take a few lessons from the Gong Show’s Gene Gene, the Dancing Machine, particularly when it comes to dancing around the issue.

The Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled this week that researchers cannot patent ‘natural’ human genes.

‘Natural’, no, but the fake stuff, yes.

Utah-based Myriad Genetics claimed it had exclusive rights over two genes, known as BCRA-1 and BCRA-2.

Sound familiar? Yeah, Angelina Jolie recently had a double mastectomy when she learned she had the BCRA-1 gene that is linked to breast and ovarian cancers.

The Supreme Court agreed with everyone who says patent protection restricts research and access to information for high-risk patients, like Jolie.

The ruling also reverses three decades of patent awards handed out by the government.

The key word in all of this is ‘natural’.

In other words, only Mother Nature has the exclusive rights to genetic material that occurs naturally.

If researchers can come up with synthetically produced genes, well, that’s okay.

Those fake jeans from China are still against the law, but that’s different material, genetically speaking.