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Human gene patenting questioned
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of USA Today

USA Today, February 3, 2010
Posted: February 15th, 2010

In a case that could have far-reaching implications for medical research and health care based on genetics, groups representing thousands of doctors, scientists and patients went to court ... to argue that no one should be able to patent human genes, a question that has long been controversial in scientific circles. The case involves a Utah company, Myriad Genetics, and the University of Utah Research Foundation, which in 1994 isolated the DNA sequence for the BRCA1 and later the BRCA2 genes, mutations of which can greatly increase a woman's chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Myriad sells a test for the genes. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation ... argued before federal district court Judge Robert Sweet that patents on genes are unconstitutional. The U.S. Patent Office allows genes to be patented as soon as someone isolates the DNA by removing it from the cell, says ACLU attorney Sandra Park. "We're arguing that isolating it does not make it patentable. It's a natural phenomenon, and the Supreme Court has always said natural phenomena are not patentable."

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