The US Supreme Court has heard arguments questioning whether the human genome can be claimed as intellectual property.
The case relates to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2009, and centres on whether companies should be able to patent genes.
US authorities have been awarding patents on genes to universities and medical companies for almost 30 years.
The case may have far-reaching repercussions for future gene research.
Currently, researchers and private companies work to isolate genes in order to use them in tests for gene-related illnesses, and in emerging gene therapies.
According to researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in the US, patents now cover some 40% of the human genome.
The ACLU lawsuit, filed in conjunction with the Public Patent Foundation, relates to seven patents on two human genes held by US firm Myriad Genetics.
Continued at source... http://www.bbc.co.uk...canada-22157410
I'm with the ACLU on this one; how the hell can you patent a gene? It's a naturally occuring part of every human/animal alive! Sure, you can patent ways of detecting specific genes, and ways of manipulating those genes, but I just don't see how some moron could possibly think it was a good idea to let these companies actually patent the gene's themselves!