Patients, researchers and industry all claimed victory Thursday when the Supreme Court ruled that human DNA cannot be patented, opening the door for dozens of scientists and others trying to market newer and better tests to tell people about their risks for a range of illnesses from cancer to heart disease.
But the unanimous ruling left in place protections for the biotechnology industry and methods used to make drugs based on engineered DNA.
The ruling clearly invalidated Myriad Genetics’ most controversial patents on tests for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that raise the risk of breast, ovarian and other cancers. But it did not go so far as to remove patents on artificial DNA, which is not widely used in genetic testing, but is used in other biotechnology applications.
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