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Supreme Court rules that naturally occurring DNA cannot be patented


In a plot twist straight out of Orphan Black, the Supreme Court has ruled that naturally occurring DNA cannot be patented, but synthetic biological material is fair game. The case involved Myriad Genetics, a company specializing in molecular testing, after it tried to patent two genes -- BRCA1 and BRCA2 -- that are often linked to breast and ovarian cancer. The Association for Molecular Pathology filed the suit, arguing that the patent would place undue restrictions on research since only Myriad would be allowed to tinker with those genes. The ruling established that isolating naturally occurring genetic material -- as Myriad did -- wasn't enough to justify legal ownership, but so-called complementary DNA (meaning it's man-made) would be eligible for patenting. Myriad had no comment at the time of this writing, but Sandra Park, an attorney with the ACLU Women's Rights Project said, "Myriad did not invent the BRCA genes and should not control them. Because of this ruling, patients will have greater access to genetic testing and scientists can engage in research on these genes without fear of being sued."

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