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U.S. Appeals Court Hears Gene Patent Arguments

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Science  20 Jul 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6092, pp. 277-278
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6092.277

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James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA's double helix, is championing a lawsuit that aims to block patents on human genes. With a strongly worded amicus brief filed last month, Watson joined a long list of scientists and doctors who have intervened in the test case, scheduled for oral argument on 20 July. A three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., will consider whether to invalidate patents on breast cancer genes owned by the Utah diagnostic company Myriad Genetics. Biotech leaders claim that if the patent critics win, their industry could suffer; they're campaigning to preserve the status quo.