A Comment on the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Human Gene Patents

Despite Michael Crichton’s “Next,” a sci-fi novel in which he described a world in which a company could own the genetic information of an individual, I never doubted for a moment that the future he described would not be one upheld by the American Supreme Court. In their 9-0 ruling they stated that what occurs in nature cannot be patented and, therefore, human genes were not subject to patent.

For a small number of companies in the biomedical field who were pursuing this approach it means their research into gene therapies will probably take a different tack or they will be out of business. My guess is biomedical research interested in patents will look at synthetic DNA and creating delivery mechanisms for providing genetic material to effect cures.

But better yet, this ruling should open up the application of genetic research in a much wider manner bringing in the collective wisdom of numerous universities, medical research centres and hospitals who are actively pursuing DNA-based therapies to deal with many diseases including cancer.


DNA Supreme Court

Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...