Court Weighs Patents For Human Genes
The American Civil Liberties Union has sued a genetics company that holds patents on breast- and ovarian-cancer-causing genes, saying their claims on the two genes hinders further research by other companies and scientists, the Associated Press/CBS News reports. ACLU lawyers have argued the discovery of the genes should not be rewarded with a patent because each is an "ancient secret of nature." A defense lawyer for Myriad Genetics, the company, argued all discoveries are routed in nature and warned that a ruling against the firm would endanger the entire biotech sector (2/2).
The Myriad lawyer "dismissed the litigation as a test case to 'go after gene patents and the biotech industry as a whole' and said patents have a positive impact on human health because they promote innovation," Reuters reports. "The lawsuit by the ACLU, the Association for Molecular Pathology, individual women and others was brought against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation, which hold the patents on the genes" (Honan, 2/2).