The most wonderful thing happened today: a New York Federal judge ruled that the patents for the BRCA genes are invalid.
The BRCA gene mutations are the ones that are linked to breast and ovarian cancer; women who have the mutation are more likely to develop one or another of these cancers. The company that had the patent for this gene had developed a test for it but the test is very expensive, no other company could study the gene, and no other company could develop a similar test.
I've thought for a long time that patenting genes was wrong. It didn't seem right to me that a private company could patent a gene because the company didn't create the gene - they only discovered it. I can see why they would patent the test for the gene, because they did create that, but patenting the gene itself just doesn't seem right. Other companies should be able to study and research the genes, too.
I hope that this ruling unleashes a whole bunch of other rulings that invalidate other gene patents. There are others, after all... and as far as I'm concerned, none of them should be patented.
Maybe this is progress in a good direction.
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