Top DNA Researcher Says Patenting Human Genes is “Lunacy”
Published on June 30, 2012 by admin · No Comments
From the very beginning of genetic research and modification, it was obvious that it would only be a matter of time before a claim would be staked on the very programming of human life by governments or international corporations. Unfortunately, that day has finally come with the recent patent of two human genes by Myriad Genetics.
The two genes being targeted by Myriad are BRCA1 and BRCA2 and they have already been the subject of several court rulings and a lawsuit filed
by the American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU). Some scientists are claiming that these genes provide a link to “hereditary” breast or ovarian cancer. Yet, considering the history of corporations
and the advantages they would gain by “owning”
the DNA of a species (particularly of the human variety), we can safely assume that there is another agenda afoot which is concerned with more than mere science and development.
With that in mind, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit
directed against Myriad Genetics aimed at challenging their claim to the human genes. Interestingly enough, this lawsuit is also working its way through the U.S. Court of Appeals for a second time.
Originally, a District Court
had ruled that Myriad’s patent on the human genes was invalid because it lays claim to a “product of nature,” which is not patentable under law. However, in a 2-1 decision
, the court of appeals reversed that ruling, agreeing with Myriad that “isolating” the DNA by removing it from the cell did in fact create a patentable molecule. Thankfully, the Supreme Court vacated this ruling
and has ordered the Court of Appeals to reconsider the case.
Yet the idea that a corporation can patent the most basic and fundamental pieces of human biology is so onerous that, in addition to a lawsuit and several court appearances, it is beginning to draw the ire of notable DNA researchers - even those who have advocated eugenics in the past.
Indeed, Dr. James Watson fits the bill in both of these categories. Not only that, but having been credited with
the discovery of identifying “DNA’s ability to create life through its double helical structure and its information-coding sequences,” as well as leading the Human Genome Project in the early 1990’s, Watson is well-respected in his field.
This is why his recent filing of an amicus brief
in opposition to gene patents and in conjunction with the lawsuit filed by the ACLU against Myriad Genetics is so groundbreaking and important.