Yours? Mine? No, It's Ours

You Can’t Patent a Human Gene

What happens when law intersects with technology and bioethics? Often, there's heated disagreement. However, the Supreme Court justices recently agreed unanimously on a high-profile matter of great significance to medicine, biotechnology, and bioethics: in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics (June 13, 2013), it ruled that the human genome cannot be patented.

The origins of the case go back to the mid-1990s, when a company called Myriad Genetics successfully identified two genes linked with breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2. The company obtained patents on these genes, giving it a monopoly on research with them. Such monopolies protect patent holders, who may...


is the Executive Director of The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity in Deerfield, Illinois.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #26, fall 2013 Copyright © 2020 Salvo |


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