Angelina Jolie (Associated Press/Frank Augstein)
Critics of human gene patents claimed victory Thursday when the Supreme Court ruled that human genes found in nature—or isolated DNA—cannot be patented.
The court also ruled that synthetic forms of DNA—complementary DNA, or cDNA—are patent eligible.
The case of Association for Molecular Pathology vs. Myriad Genetics was brought by the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2009, challenged patents held by Myriad Genetics on two human genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, linked to breast, ovarian and other cancers.
The BRCA genes gained notoriety recently when actress Angelina Jolie announced she was having a preventive double mastectomy after testing positive for one of the genes. The tests are costly and not always covered by insurance.
The suit against Myriad Genetics claimed that its patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations prevented vital research on and testing for breast, ovarian and other cancers.
The ruling essentially knocks down Myriad's monopoly onRead More »from Supreme Court reaches compromise on breast cancer gene patent