Medical industry wants to own your genes


Joe Schneider
Bloomberg
February 16, 2013

Myriad Genetics Inc., owner of patents for genes linked to cancer risks, won an Australian court ruling allowing it to patent isolated DNA, a first in the country, with the U.S. Supreme Court set to hear a similar case.

Federal Court Justice John Nicholas today in Sydney dismissed a 2010 lawsuit aimed at stopping Myriad and Genetic Technologies Ltd. from patenting a gene mutation associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

The issue has divided the global medical community with groups including the Association for Molecular Pathology and the American College of Medical Genetics arguing that Myriad is attempting to get legal ownership of parts of the human body. The conflict returns to the U.S. Supreme Court this year after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit twice ruled that genes can be patented. The U.S. high court agreed on Nov. 30 to hear the Association for Molecular Pathology’s appeal.

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