There is an interesting case developing in New York where a court is being asked to declare that companies cannot patent human genes. The case involves a patent claim by Myriad Genetics, and the University of Utah Research Foundation, In 1994, the company and foundation isolated the DNA sequence for the BRCA1 and later the BRCA2 genes — mutations that greatly increase a woman’s chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer. The patent protects a test that the company and foundation are selling to detect the genes.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the Public Patent Foundation, March of Dimes and the American Society for Human Genetics oppose the effort. They are asking Judge Robert Sweet to declare that such genes are a natural phenomenon and thus not patentable.
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