NEWSFLASH: Human Genes Can’t Be Patented, Says Supreme Court

3080247531_bf04a5cbe5In a unanimous decision (written by Justice Clarence Thomas, of all people), the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that human genes can’t be patented. However, a manipulated gene that creates something not found in nature can receive patent protection.

The case was Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, No. 12-398, which involves the BRCA 1 and 2 genes, a mutation in which can indicate an increased risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. Until this ruling, Myriad Genetics controlled the research and testing for the BRCA mutations.

More to come on this momentous ruling.

Photo of DNA from Flickr user micahb37 under license from Creative Commons 2.0


  1. Rosita Libre de Marulanda says:

    I am glad that human genes cannot be patented. However, isn’t that jumping the gun, assuming that a human gene can be manipulated to create something not found in nature, and that THAT can be patented. It is almost wishful thinking, direction setting, green light turning in a specific path.

    What does this say, that if you take a human gene, manipulated it, get another form of life, you can patent the gene and own the altered human? Hum, this is dangerous!

  2. The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that human genes are not patentable has set the stage for a new era of access to genetic information. Next, we must fill the information gap left by restricted data access and free our data! Free the Data! is a grass-roots campaign that will create an open, searchable database of genetic information allowing for better diagnosis and care, while protecting patient privacy. Share your BRCA test results or join the campaign to support data access at

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