U.S. Says Genes Should Not be Eligible for Patents

Reversing a longstanding policy, the U.S. federal government has ruled in a legal brief that human and other genes should not be eligible for patents. This could have an enormous impact on medicine and on the biotechnology industry.

It is not yet clear if the new policy will be put into effect by the Patent Office. If it is, it is likely to draw protests from biotechnology companies.

According to the New York Times:

“The issue of gene patents has long been a controversial and emotional one. Opponents say that genes are products of nature, not inventions, and should be the common heritage of mankind. They say that locking up basic genetic information in patents actually impedes medical progress.”

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