Saturday, December 1, 2012

Patenting Genes Again

I have blogged about this before here and here. Who owns our genes? According to Myriad Genetics, which 'owns' the BRCA genes and tests and gets to charge $3,000 per test, they own the two BRCA genes. That sounds stupid, doesn't it? Apparently Myriad Genetics is full of rocket scientists who believe they can own parts of the human body that naturally occur. Maybe we can start selling patent rights to our big toes or something to pay our medical bills.

Well stupidity now faces the US Justice system as the Supreme Court announced on 11/30/2012 that they will hear the case on whether companies can patent human genes. As science and medical research grows and focus more and more on genetics this ruling could affect medical research in decades to come.

The two sides come down to this:

"The justices' decision will likely resolve an ongoing battle between scientists who believe that genes carrying the secrets of life should not be exploited for commercial gain and companies that argue that a patent is a reward for years of expensive research that moves science forward."

If we take this a step farther could lawn seed companies claim they own the genes in the grass seed they breed to make greener lawns so that we would need to pay rent to walk barefoot on the grass? Or someone could patent oxygen and we could start paying rent to breathe.

I am sure that the people with the BRCA gene would be happy to get rid of it so if Myriad wants to own the gene, why can't people get paid to have it taken out of their body?

I am in favor of the scientists, patients, medical research, and good health. I am against corporate greed.

I mean, seriously? Get over it. But now since it is going to the Supreme Court I am sure your lawyers will be rich by the time a decision is reached.

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