Genetic Breakthroughs: Patents and Profits

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Mapping the human genome began "the biological gold rush of the 21st Century," with companies now owning patents on 4000 human genes. Today, the US Supreme Court is being asked to strike down two patents on BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, genes that helped doctors discover both breast and ovarian cancer. Nobody can do that without paying Myriad Genetics, which isolated the genes. But opponents argue the genes are "products of Nature." We hear about a case with long-term implications for the future of "personalized medicine" designed to serve the needs of each individual patient.




Warren Olney