Jun 13, 2013
By Michael Kramer
The U-S Supreme Court has ruled companies cannot patent parts of naturally-occurring human genes.
The unanimous judgment throws out patents held by Myriad Genetics on an increasingly popular breast cancer test.
That was brought to light recently by actress Angelina Jolie’s revelation that she had a double mastectomy because of one of the genes involved in this case.
The court said that laws of nature, natural phenomena and abstract ideas are not patentable.
Myriad sells the only B-R-C-A gene test.
It uses DNA analysis to identify harmful changes in either one of the two breast cancer susceptibility genes.
Opponents say the company can use the patents to keep other researchers from working with the B-R-C-A gene to develop other tests.
However, the court did rule that synthetically created DNA, known as c-DNA, can be patented -because it is not naturally occurring.