The Lookout
  • 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 on

    Read More »from Supreme Court reaches compromise on breast cancer gene patent
  • Gloria Mackenzie with her son, right, and his partner (Colin Hackley/Reuters)Old habits appear to die hard for 84-year-old lottery winner Gloria Mackenzie.

    According to the Daily Mail, the great-grandmother from Zephyrhills, Fla., who won $590 million on the lottery two weeks ago, is still being driven around in her son's gold Ford Focus and shopping at Wal-Mart. Instead of spending her fortune on lavish dinners, she's eating at local crab shacks and taking her leftovers home in doggie bags.

    Mackenzie, the biggest Powerball winner in U.S. history, plans to share her winnings with her son Scott, 57, who was with her when she bought the winning $2 ticket at a local supermarket. Scott lives nearby with his partner Jerry Cruz, 65.

    Before claiming her fortune, Mackenzie lived in a modest $30,000 bungalow in Zephyrhills, Fla. (She had been been forced out of the trailer park she called home for 25 years prior to that.) Mackenzie is currently staying in a hotel while construction of her new luxury home is completed in Jacksonville. She's been spotted around town with

    Read More »from Lottery-winning great-grandmother lives simply
  • Carie Charlesworth (NBC 7 San Diego)

    An elementary school teacher fired by a private San Diego-area school following a domestic violence incident involving her ex-husband is speaking out about her ordeal.

    Carie Charlesworth, who taught second grade at Holy Trinity School in El Cajon, Calif., told the San Diego NBC affiliate that the incident with her ex-husband occurred back in January.

    “Basically, we’d had a very bad weekend with him," Charlesworth, a mother of four, said. “We'd called the Sheriff’s Department three times on [that] Sunday."

    The following morning, Charlesworth said, she informed the school of the incident and told the principal to be on the lookout for her ex-husband. When he was spotted in the parking lot, the school went into lockdown.

    Charlesworth was put on indefinite leave, and her children, who also attended Holy Trinity, were removed by the school.

    "At this time, Mrs. Charlesworth and her children are on an indefinite leave of absence," Francie Wright, Holy Trinity's principal, wrote in a letter

    Read More »from Teacher fired over ex-husband’s ‘threatening and menacing’ behavior


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