Should you be able to patent a gene?

I think that this sums it up best:

Dr. Ronald Carter, chair of the Ontario Advisory Committee on Genetics: "It’s like the guy who discovered water saying, ‘This is a natural phenomenon, I found it first, everything that has to do with water is mine.’ "

Also, it’s interesting to note that the Harvard mouse cannot be patented here in Canada.

Well, obviously the answer is “Hell No!”. The problem is that they are not quite patenting the gene but rather the method for detecting it. From the first paragraph of your first link:

But the article goes on to make it sound much more ominous:

So they sum up the crux of the issue:

So to fine tune the water analogy, it’s as if they discovered water with a custom straw and now noone’s allowed to retrieve water with any method other than there straw. This sounds like big BS to me, patent the detection method but not the actual gene.

The patent is being challenged in the EU as well. From article:

One of the institutes objecting, France’s Curie Institute has problems with tests accuracy as well as morality:

Here is a EU parliament resolution paper on the patents. It is not favourable.

If you create the gene, why not. The genes and whatnot that make up our DNA fall into the, “public domain,” and are not patentable, as far as I know.

rysto wrote:

Fine, so he patented it. The patent ran out 99,000 years ago.
Carnalk wrote:

Rather than complain about Myriad owing this bit of knowledge we should be pleased that we, humanity, have it at our disposal at all.

“If you create the gene, why not. The genes and whatnot that make up our DNA fall into the, “public domain,” and are not patentable, as far as I know.”

It seems you haven’t grasped the issue. No gene was “created”. Myriad has developed a method for finding mutations in a certain gene which makes women susceptible to breast cancer; now they don’t want anyone doing anything to the gene without going through them.

The links will explain properly (and read my 3rd quote slower).

Let me get this straight:

Company A discovers a method of detecting breast cancer by looking at a gene (which already exists in humans, and which they did not create, just looked at). They patent this method.

Company B discovers a completely DIFFERENT method of detecting breast cancer by looking at the same gene, but without using any of Company A’s work.

The law only allows the use of Company A’s method.
WTF??? How can they do that?


People should not be allowed to slap a patent on God’s programming. However, it is already being done…


I think this field could eventually be a huge moneymaker for a few big corporations, but very bad for us as individuals.


By being able to patent a gene, does that company then own the rights to a part of every individual?

I can understand companies being able to patent a method. But It is a little presumptuous for them to believe that they can restrict access to a gene that resides in my body.

That’s on topic. Extending the topic, I don’t think it’s right for a company to be able to restrict the use of any method when it comes to something like detecting cancer. A person’s life is at state and big companies are squabbling over patents and copyrights. I know there’s money issues but that still doesn’t justify it.

Sorry for the deviation Rysto…just something that bugs me.

Well you can take heart that the patent is pretty meaningless until it is tested in court. I have to believe it will fail there(read the EU statement linked at the bottom of my 1st post).