Monday, April 2, 2012

Can a gene’s DNA be patented?

In the 1990s Myriad Genetics, collaborating with investigators at the University of Utah Research Foundation and other institutions and companies around the world, isolated the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes, which are linked to both breast and ovarian cancer. In 1997 the U.S. Patent Office, ruling that the isolated DNA of these genes were discrete chemical compounds, granted a patent on the BRCA 1 gene and certain mutations to Myriad and its collaborators. The office later granted similar protection for the BRCA 2 gene. Over a decade later a science expert employed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who was looking into health and medical issues reported that patents were being granted for genes. Impossible, replied Chris Hansen, J.D., an ACLU attorney. They must be patenting the methodology to isolate the genes. No, the researcher assured him, they’re patenting genes, and about 20 percent of known human genes are under patent. “That’s just wrong,” Hansen replied. “Let’s sue somebody.” Visit to read the full article. You can also click the above light blue link to be redirected.