Supreme Court: Human Genes Cannot Be Patented

at 9:00 AM
 (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decided this week that human genes cannot be patented. A biotech company, Myriad Genetics, held patents on two genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer. But the Court ruled that because the company had simply isolated the genes and had not synthetically created something new, the patents were not valid. The company argued that allowing patents on human genes incentivizes research. But critics said it would hamper science by raising the cost of testing. What does the decision mean for medical and scientific research?


Lauren Sommer, science and environment reporter for KQED Public Radio

Mildred Cho, associate director of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics and a professor in Stanford's Department of Pediatrics