News & AnalysisIntellectual Property

In a Flurry of Metaphors, Justices Debate a Limit on Gene Patents

Science  26 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6131, pp. 421
DOI: 10.1126/science.340.6131.421

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Summary

The U.S. Supreme Court took a heady plunge into molecular biology on 15 April as it tried to determine whether patents on the cancer-linked genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 are legitimate. The debate turns on whether DNA sequences patented by Myriad Genetics Inc. of Salt Lake City are human inventions, as Myriad claims. If not, the court could rule that they are "products of nature" and void the patents. A decision is expected before the end of June.

  • * With reporting by Leigh Dayton.