Human genes can’t be patented, Supreme Court rules

by Kia Farhang

Individual human genes are products of nature and can’t be patented, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The unanimous ruling marked a major victory for advocates who expressed concerns over the possibility of biotechnology companies profiting from human genetic material.

Challenges to assertions made by Myriad Genetics Inc. brought the case all the way to the nation’s highest court. Myriad claimed it could patent the DNA it isolated from the human body to develop a breast cancer test, the Associated Press reported.

In the past, the Supreme Court has ruled that natural occurrences are not patentable.

Myriad won a partial victory — in his majority opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas granted the company the right to patent synthetically created DNA.