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Can You Patent Genes?

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Uploaded on Mar 27, 2013

As of today, the answer is yes, you can patent genes. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has always considered isolated genes, gene fragments and cDNAs to be distinct chemicals, and of course novel chemicals are patentable. But in a seemingly odd decision by a New York federal court in the Myriad Genetics case, the court said such nucleic acid sequences are just "products of nature," having no different properties from the cellular sequences, and you can't patent nature. So, they declared Myriad's patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer-predictive mutant genes invalid. The appeals court twice threw this odd decision out -- but now the Supreme Court has agreed to take the case. Will the Supreme Court kill all the gene patents? If so, what would this mean for the biotech industry? For genetic diagnostics? For "personalized medicine," which involves the development of genotype-specific drugs? The Supreme Court will decide this case in the coming months, so come hear the issues and get yourself a ringside seat to the biggest biotech court decision in over 30 years.

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