Thursday, April 8, 2010

Patented Genes - Hopefully the Begining of the End

A recent ruling by a US District judge rejected the patent claims of Myriad Genetics. Myriad holds the patents on two genes they "discovered" that linked women to predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer. They developed a test, that only Myriad could administer because of their patents, to determine the presence of those genes. In the court ruling, however, the judge ruled that as a product of nature our genes could not be patented.

It is one of those strange intersections between the High Tech Industry and Down to Earth Farming you can read about the recent ruling at the Good Morning Silicon Valley blog.

While its sure to be appealed I hope the ruling stands. And I hope this ruling is used to invalidate other similarly ridiculous claims like Monsanto's claim on a gene that has been related to faster weight gain on a pig. That gene exists in nature - Monsanto just found the correlation. They did not create it. Yet as of today they own a "patent" on it and in theory could come into my farm and prosecute me or request a license fee for having pigs that have those genes. Just because nature gave them those genes.

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