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Should companies be allowed to patent genes?

Asked by: Antman036
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  • More Funds for Private Corporations

    If women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer want to check for mutations of their BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which can help predict the likelihood of the diseases, they have exactly one option: undergo a blood test created by Myriad Genetics. That’s because Myriad holds a series of patents relating to both genes, protecting its intellectual property and restricting other laboratories from performing the test. But in March, a federal judge ruled in favor of plaintiffs who argued that genes shouldn't’t be patented—a decision that could affect the holders of thousands of gene patents issued since 1982.

    According to the Patent Act, only a “new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter” is worthy of a patent. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a modified bacterium was patentable in 1980, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office interpreted this rule broadly, allowing genes, removed and isolated from the body, to be patented.

    That’s illogical, contends Mary Steele Williams, chief operating officer of the Association for Molecular Pathology, which is one of the case’s 20 plaintiffs represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation. “DNA sequences are discovered, not invented,” she says. “Removing DNA from the body and cleaning it up a bit doesn’t make it novel.”

    This misinterpretation of the law, contends ACLU attorney Chris Hansen, is suppressing scientific research. “Say that a disease is influenced by five or more genes, each owned by someone different,” he notes. “Inevitably that type of situation will stifle clinical innovation.”

    Moreover, he and the plaintiffs argue that Myriad’s monopoly on testing BRCA1 and BRCA2 ill serves patients faced with complex health decisions. If mutations are found, a patient is usually advised to undergo an elective mastectomy, even if no signs of the cancer are yet present. Many physicians would likely continue to use Myriad’s test even if its patents are invalidated, but the field would be open to competition, allowing for the development of other tests that could provide second opinions and force competitive pricing.

    Myriad, whose BRCA1 and BRCA2 patents begin to expire in 2014 and 2015, respectively, has filed an appeal, and arguments will be heard next year. “This is a landmark case along a road we’re just beginning to travel,” says Daniel Vorhaus, an attorney and editor of the Genomics Law Report. “And what’s great is that it has drawn a number of different voices into the conversation.”

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    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NON O NON O NON O NO NON ON ONO NO N ON NO N ONO NON ONO NONO NO ONO NON ONO NON ONO NO NON ON ON ON ON NON ON ONON ON On

  • It`s not always true because

    Less people says positive and most people says negative also because they can operate on stuff and they can´t remove the gene because they are in your blood because they live in your body when they get in your body so there is no way of getting them out of your body except you do surgery.

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  • It is unnecessary and a problem

    Companies don't need to patent genes because it is both a hindrance to the scientific community, but also has ethical issues in regards to people being owned by a company. If one company patents a gene than another company can't research it which may hurt their research if they are studying more than one gene.
    Posted by: Antman036

  • Companies should not be allowed to patent genes.

    Genes are a part of the human body, and companies should not be permitted to hold a patent on them. If a company were able to claim ownership on a gene, it could prevent other, better companies from using this information to develop cures or treatments for diseases. It is better for everyone if the body is free from patents.

  • No - genes naturally exist, patents should be reserved for new inventions

    It does not make sense to patent something that already exists. Should someone be allowed to copyright an ancient Greek text because they discovered it? Did Columbus invent the Americas just by stumbling on them? No.

    By all means, companies should be able to patent a method for testing for a particular gene. But not for the gene itself.

  • What happens to people with those genes?

    Absolutely not! What about when a person trying to get treatment for a genetic problem runs into patent issues? What about if another person is born with the same genes? Do they then become a violation of patent law? Would there be any kinds of restrictions on these people? Genes that can occur naturally, at least, should not be patented.

  • Companies Don't Own Genes

    Genes are not a creation of humanity, rather a creation of God that humans discover as they delve deeper into science. Allowing a company a monopoly on medical progress is just asking for trouble down the road - just see what companies with the only medication for an illness charge! Genes belong to the scientific community.

  • In what world do you claim you created something that you found.

    Trying to patent my genes is like trying to patent the Rosetta stone. You can patent the process, You can take credit for the find, but you did nothing to create the content. All of the genetic code that is there was created by evolution or God depending on your view. So unless you are evolution or God you have no rights to patent.


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