Can someone else patent your genes? The Supreme Court is scheduled to rule some time this month on that question – a suit filed against Myriad Genetics for its patent on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, which raise the risk of breast, ovarian and certain other cancers.
Opponents of patenting human DNA say a ruling in favor of Myriad will mean companies can own your genes, even though experts say it’s more complicated than that. The patents set off a cascade of effects, opponents argue: it gives the company a monopoly on the test that can identify whether patients have the BRCA mutations so other companies can’t offer their own tests as a second opinion. There’s also no one to compete with the Myriad’s $3,000 price tag on the test.
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Myriad has long argued that it’s not patenting anyone’s genes. Instead, the company says, it separates them from the rest of the DNA and creates lab-made copies — and that’s what is patented and used in the test. The company has also licensed a few medical centers to run second-opinion tests.
Continue reading this article at NBC News.