Our friends at Newsy are wondering what a decision about blocking the ability of a company to patent genes means on a larger scale. Back in October, the U.S. government did an about-face on gene patents, and yesterday, the D.C.-based U.S. Court of Appeals heard arguments in a case about Myriad Genetics’ patents on two genes. The patents on the genes, found to increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, allow the company to make money from its research, but others argue that it limits outside research and the patient’s ability to get a second opinion. It’s a thorny issue with a lot of issues to consider. What do you think?
» Cracking the heart disease code: As anybody with a family history, or personal history of heart disease knows, it’s a frightening and pervasive concern. It should come as thrilling news, then, that a group of scientists believe they’ve located thirteen different gene regions that may indicate a vulnerability to heart attack. Though the knowledge is admittedly limited, and is likely years from practical application in a doctor’s office, advancements like these are what give us hope for a brighter, healthier future, with fewer people unexpectedly dropping dead.
» Why this is a big deal: Well, among other things, this is a change of policy for them, one that could make it harder for the biotechnology and medicine industries to keep innovations unique. We wish that the government would make this distinction on software patents over trivial things. See, that’s where a change in decision is necessary.