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Court says human genes cannot be patented

8:30 PM, Jun 13, 2013   |    comments
(AP image)
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WASHINGTON (AP) - For three decades, the government has awarded patents on naturally-occurring human genes. But those patents have been rejected by the Supreme Court, which says those genes can't be patented.

It's a partial defeat for a Utah company, Myriad Genetics, which held patents on two genes linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The company's breast cancer gene test was recently brought into the public eye by actress Angelina Jolie, who revealed that she'd had a double mastectomy because of one of the genes involved in this case.

But the court also gave the company a partial victory, ruling that synthetically-created DNA could be patented because "it is not naturally-occurring." And the company is focusing on that part of the ruling, saying it will have "strong intellectual property protection" for its breast cancer test in the future.

The company's stock jumped 10 percent after the ruling.

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