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Supreme Court Rules Out Patents on 'Natural' Genes

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Science  21 Jun 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6139, pp. 1387-1388
DOI: 10.1126/science.340.6139.1387

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Summary

Myriad Genetics, the Salt Lake City firm that built a $450-million-a-year business on gene analysis, lost a big patent fight on 13 June. The U.S. Supreme Court gutted five of its intellectual property claims on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, whose DNA sequences company scientists analyze to find mutations that raise a woman's risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Few doubt Myriad will survive the blow but the 9–0 ruling against Myriad more broadly overturned 3 decades of U.S. support for human gene patents, rattling patent lawyers and biotech executives.

  • * With reporting by Michael Price.