DNA Real Estate: The Myriad Genetics Case and the Implications of Granting Patent Eligibility to Complimentary DNA
Hagan, Sarah Elizabeth
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In June 2013, in Ass’n for Molecular Pathology et. al., v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., the Supreme Court examined the patent eligibility of isolated (human) DNA and its components. This was in response to advances in breast cancer prescreening surrounding mutations associated with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. In accordance with 35 U.S.C. §101, the Court evaluated whether naturally occurring segments of DNA and synthetically created segments of v DNA were patent eligible. The Court found that while isolated natural DNA segments were patent ineligible, synthetically created DNA segments were not precluded. This Note examines the potential economic and ethical implications of this decision and focuses a discussion on why such a ruling may likely prove contradictory. While the synthetically created DNA evaluated in Myriad, known as complimentary DNA (cDNA), is in fact synthetic and generated at the hand of a laboratory technician, arguably the one who holds the patent on such a component of DNA will therefore be able to exert increased control over the naturally occurring DNA segment for which the cDNA serves to compliment.