Draft bill reignites U.S. debate over patenting human genes

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Science  14 Jun 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6445, pp. 1017
DOI: 10.1126/science.364.6445.1017

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A congressional proposal to expand the range of inventions eligible for a U.S. patent is drawing protest from scientific societies and patient advocates. The draft bill, released last month by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, would reverse Supreme Court decisions that restricted patents on natural processes and products, including human genes. In two hearings held last week by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, some representatives of the biotechnology industry and research universities applauded the proposal, saying it would boost innovation. But others were alarmed. The American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, D.C., and more than 100 other signatories released a letter warning that the proposed changes would stifle medical research and hinder patients' access to diagnostic tests.