Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Should genes be patented?

The Supreme Court heard an argument yesterday addressing
 whether or not human genes in the body can be patented.  The main question here is whether or not something in the body can be patented. Myriad Genetics currently has two pending patents linked to breast and ovarian cancer. Their argument is that so much time, money and effort goes into this research that there needs to be a way to ensure they'll be able to recoup their costs. On the other side, it could slow down research in the industry causing delays.

 The Associate Press The Supreme Court has already said that abstract ideas, natural phenomena and laws of nature cannot be given a patent, which gives an inventor the right to prevent others from making, using or selling a novel device, process or application. 

Myriad is seeking the patent for use in the BRACAnalysis which, from this gene, can determine whether or not a person is likely to develop those types of cancers.

What do you think?  Should companies be allowed to patent genes?  If the Supreme Court rules they can, how will this affect future research?

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