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Patentability of Isolated Gene Sequences (DNA)

The Genesis of Nature Ownership Claim

3 September, 2014,

Jonathan Doron

Patentability of Isolated Gene Sequences (DNA)
This is a fascinating story of a combination between medicine and intellectual property. The case of "Association of Molecular Pathology (AMP) v. Myriad Genetics" was discussed in several courts in the United States until the supreme court of justice, hereinafter: "The Court", had ruled last year.
 
In a unanimous decision the court ruled that merely isolating genes, originated in nature does not make it patentable: "The human genome is not a patent of a commercial firm". 
 
Although DNA which has been manipulated as well as various implementations originated in genetic research and the methods of gene isolation, can be patentable.
DNA forms originated in nature are nature's byproduct and therefore are not patentable. When researchers conducting manipulations to the DNA, than they may be able to create a new DNA form, which is not originated in nature, therefore patentable and may be protected by intellectual property law.
 
The ruling had a direct impact on the "patent landscape" as Myriad Genetics which owned two patents relating to DNA sequence of the evolution of various cancers types, had they canceled due to the ruling. Both the sequences were just lately published by recognized Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie as part of her breast amputation.
 
The main argument was raised by AMP, according to their way if the court will rule in their favor and release the DNA sequence patents to the public domain, it will bring a new prosperity age for genetic diagnosis examination. The argument stated that the prices of such examination which currently cost 3,000$ could be significantly reduced and be available for every household in the near future, as long as the advancement of genetic research.
 
Whether the ruling will bring to prosperity in DNA sequence research or to a regression of the existing genetic researches, time will tell.
 

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