Policy ForumPATENT LAW

Law and Science Collide Over Human Gene Patents

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Science  09 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6108, pp. 745-747
DOI: 10.1126/science.1229854

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In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that engineered organisms could be patented (1). For 30 years, genes have likewise been presumed to be eligible for patents. Recent events suggest that the Court may reverse established practice in biotechnology patents, by making DNA molecules whose sequences are found in living organisms ineligible to be patented.