The Forbes Healthcare blog has a post commenting on the the Government's amicus brief filed in the Myriad case and supports the Government's reasoning in now supporting the notion that isolated DNA sequences should NOT be patent eligible.
The Forbes guest writer, Steven Salzberg, applauds the Government for its unusually clear scientific/legal reasoning. In their amicus brief, the Justice Department wrote:
“the unique chain of chemical base pairs that induces a human cell to express a BRCA protein is not a ‘human-made invention.’ Nor is the fact that particular natural mutations in that unique chain increase a woman’s chance of contracting breast or ovarian cancer. Indeed, the relationship between a naturally occurring nucleotide sequence and the molecule it expresses in a human cell – that is, the relationship between genotype and phenotype – is simply a law of nature. The chemical structure of native human genes is a product of nature, and it is no less a product of nature when that structure is ‘isolated’ from its natural environment than are cotton fibers that have been separated from cotton seeds.”
The author concludes, No one should have exclusive rights to a gene that occurs naturally in a human, another animal, a plant, or any other living species. It remains an open question as to how the Government's change in position will affect the next round of this case.
Posted by Bruce Lehr October 31st.