Supreme Court seems reluctant to issue broad ruling on DNA patents

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Monday over whether human genes can be patented. During the hearing, justices asked focused questions about the isolated genes for which Myriad Genetics holds patents and used hypothetical situations to explore where the lines should be drawn between what is naturally occurring and therefore not patentable under the federal Patent Act, and what is created by man and therefore subject to patents. Some justices also expressed concern about the possible effects of a broad ruling on the biotech industry. "Why shouldn't we worry that Myriad or companies like it will just say, 'well, you know, we're not going to do this work anymore'?" asked Justice Elena Kagan.

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