1. “Isolated human genes may not be patented, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday….
Myriad’s discovery of the precise location and sequence of the genes at issue, BRCA1 and BRCA2, did not qualify, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court. “A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated,” he said. “It is undisputed that Myriad did not create or alter any of the genetic information encoded in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.”
“Groundbreaking, innovative or even brilliant discovery does not by itself satisfy the criteria” for patent eligibility, he said.
But manipulating a gene to create something not found in nature, Justice Thomas added, is an invention eligible for patent protection. He also left the door open for other ways for companies to profit from their research.”
Emphasis added because the Orphan Black fangirl in me is screaming and jumping with nerdtastic joy at how interesting this all is.
2. “The price of the test, often more than $3,000, was partly a product of Myriad’s patent, putting it out of reach for some women. The company filed patent infringement suits against others who conducted testing based on the gene. The price of the test is expected to fall because of Thursday’s decision.”
Seeing as my mom, even after having super intense breast cancer, had to fork over the cost of the test out of pocket to see if my sister and I were at risk, this makes me super happy.
3. “The court’s ruling will also shape the course of scientific research and medical testing in other fields, and it may alter the willingness of businesses to invest in the expensive work of isolating and understanding genetic material.”
…less happy about this, but it’s an inevitable consequence, I suppose. Sucky but inevitable.