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Reaction on gene-patenting ruling from around the web

Wow, what a busy day for gene patenting discussions! This morning's decision (.pdf) by the Supreme Court that isolated DNA is not patentable has sparked a wave of stories, press releases and announcements across the web. I thought I'd pull together some of the most useful information I've found today on the topic.

Twitter provided a forum for immediate responses to the ruling, my favorite of which was authored by NIH director Francis Collins, MD, PhD:

(Collins later followed-up with a much more staid official statement, but I still love the "Woo hoo.") The Twitter feed from the National Human Genome Research Institute was only a bit more restrained:

Several Stanford experts weighed in as well, including Stanford law professor and bioethicist Hank Greely, JD, who had a slightly different reaction to the ruling:

Geneticist Carlos Bustamante, PhD, also tweeted his thoughts about the issue of consumer choice (scroll down to read tweet series).

As the day wore on, it became apparent that those on both sides of the issue were claiming a victory of sorts. Myriad issued a positively worded release highlighting the Court's decision to uphold the company's cDNA patents. Stock in Myriad (and other biotechnology companies) initially jumped after the announcement, but ended the day down about 5.6 percent.

Two genetic testing companies (Ambry Genetics and Gene by Gene, Ltd) that I know of (there could well be more) jumped into the fray this afternoon with announcements that they will immediately begin offering BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing to patients at prices much lower than the $3,000 to $4,000 charged by Myriad. It remains to be seen, however, how much of an advantage Myriad's proprietary database (used to interpret the sequence results and deliver risk estimates to patients) will confer to savvy patients who may choose to pay a premium for access to this cloistered information. Personally, I'm really interested in the effect the ruling will have on an end-around effort by researchers trying to reconstitute Myriad's database by compiling individual patient's reports from the company.

Finally (for now), for a general overview of the history of BRCA gene patenting and the field of genetic testing, check out this excellent article from Nova Next. I have a feeling I'm going to be reading it more than once as I (along with many experts in both law and biology) puzzle through the issues for these next few days and weeks.

Previously: A closer look at Supreme Court’s decision on gene patenting, Supreme Court rules on Myriad’s “gene patenting” case and Are genes patentable? A summary of the Supreme Court case

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