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U.S. Supreme Court: Naturally Occurring DNA Can be Swabbed But Not Patented

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Last week, in a 5-4 decision in Maryland v. King (No. 12-207), the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly held the following:

“When officers make an arrest supported by probably cause to hold or a serious offense and bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”

Today, in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. (No. 12-398), the Court unanimously held that “[a] naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and is not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated, but cDNA is patent eligible because it is not naturally occurring.”

As expected, the reactions in both cases were mixed.  Civil libertarians criticized the King case for being too invasive and unconstitutional.  Opponents of genetic patents are undoubtedly pleased with today’s ruling because no one can monopolize and exploit for profit a segment of naturally occurring DNA.


Written by Admin

June 13, 2013 at 11:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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