Supremes debate human gene patents, but are they too late?

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The following is an edited excerpt.

The Supreme Court is poised to take up the highly charged question of whether human genes can be patented. But another question could trump it: Has the field of genetics moved so far so fast that whatever the court decides, it has come too late to the issue?

For one thing, the Myriad patents at issue are due to expire over the next two years. And experts say a relatively small number of other diagnostic tests or drugs are protected by patents on single genes.

Moreover, it will soon be possible to sequence a person’s entire genome for less than the $4,000 that Myriad charges to analyze just two genes, which are called BRCA1 and BRCA2. And whole genome sequencing might not infringe patents on isolated genes.

Read the full article here: Justices Consider Whether Patents on Genes Are Valid

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