Can Genes be Patentable?

Tuesday 21 September 2010 @ 2.41 p.m. | IP & Media

A controversial Senate inquiry has resulted from a Melbourne-based company, Genetic Technologies, which held an exclusive license to conduct tests for determining susceptibility to breast cancer based on mutations in genes BRCA-1 and BRCA-2.

According to Shelston IP Lawyers, The company decided to assert their patent costs and wanted to charge high fees for breast cancer testing, resulting in the inquiry based on the patentability of human genes and other biological materials.

The most recent deadline for reporting was circumvented by the Federal election on 21 August 2010, but it is expected to be discussed again in the upcoming sittings.

What do you think about human genes and other biological materials? Should we be able to hold a patent over, for example, the DNA strand once it is fully mapped? Or is this an area where the law should not interfere?

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