Natural justice

by jeeg 18. April 2013 22:08
THE nine justices on America’s Supreme Court must apply their minds to the thorniest of legal questions. On April 15th they were presented with a particularly testing puzzler: should the law allow people to patent human genes?   The case is the culmination of a battle that began in 2009. It pits America’s Association for Molecular Pathology and various other interested parties—represented by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union—against Myriad Genet... [More]

Gene Patents Are Sabotaging the Future of Medicine

by jeeg 18. April 2013 22:02
The business of DNA is undergoing a revolution. We can already get our genes scanned for the bargain-basement price of $99. Soon we’ll be able to have entire genomes sequenced for less than the cost of a MacBook Air. That’s huge considering that not so long ago it cost billions of dollars to map a single genome.   But the ability of scientists, doctors and companies to tell us how our genes might impact our health now hinges on a case being debated by the U.S. Supreme Co... [More]

Supreme Court considers gene patents

by jeeg 16. April 2013 22:42
The Supreme Court on Monday seemed skeptical that a human gene can be patented but also worried about what a decision to bar such patents would mean for private scientific inquiry and research.   Even the normally confident justices expressed some trepidation as they considered the complexities of patent law and the mysteries of biochemistry. They talked about the introns and exons that are parts of genes, but spent more time on simpler illustrations: baseball bats, a hypothetical p... [More]

DNA Project Aims to Make Company’s Data Public

by jeeg 12. April 2013 23:06
Anyone in the United States who wants to know if she has mutations in two breast cancer genes has little choice of where to be tested. One company alone has patents on the genes, and that company pretty much controls the market. On Monday, the Supreme Court will take up the issue of whether companies can own patents on genes. But there is another issue, often overlooked, that might make the patent question beside the point. No matter which way the patent decision goes, the company, Myriad... [More]

Join the Rally at the Supreme Court Against Gene Patents on April 15

by jeeg 12. April 2013 20:54
On April 15th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear our landmark legal challenge to Myriad Genetics’ patents on the “breast cancer genes,” BRCA 1 and 2. Corporate ownership of our genes harms women’s health and blocks progress on breast cancer. This is an historic case that has been winding through the legal system for four years. We are thrilled that it’s going all the way to the Supreme Court.  Join a rally in support of ending gene patents on April 15th... [More]

Protesters oppose biolab as court proceedings continue

by jeeg 12. April 2013 20:48
Several protesters stood outside the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse Thursday as proceedings continued in a case challenging the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories at Boston University, commonly referred to as the BU biolab.   Inside the courthouse, a team of prosecuting attorneys argued that the National Institutes of Health risk assessment of the lab, which was released Jan. 2, did not properly consider alternatives or the biolab’s environmental consequen... [More]

To claim someone has 'Viking ancestors' is no better than astrology

by jeeg 11. April 2013 19:38
You may have missed the latest genetic discovery. One million British men may be directly descended from the Roman legions". The story reappeared at the Who Do You Think You Are – Live event at London's Olympia, when it was repeated by Alistair Moffatt, the managing director of BritainsDNA, the company behind the claims.   Such stories are becoming increasingly common in newspapers, on television and radio. Last week on the BBC miniseries Meet the Izzards we were told that Edd... [More]

EPIC Sues FBI to Obtain Details of Massive Biometric ID Database

by jeeg 11. April 2013 19:16
EPIC has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FBI to obtain documents about "Next Generation Identification", a massive database with biometric identifiers on millions of Americans. The EPIC lawsuit follows the FBI's failure to respond to EPIC's earlier FOIA requests for technical specifications and contracts. According to EPIC's complaint, "When completed, the NGI system will be the largest biometric database in the world." NGI aggregates fingerprints, DNA profiles, iris sca... [More]

Boston Communities Fight Against Environmental Injustice as NIH and BU Push for Biolab in Roxbury/South End

by jeeg 11. April 2013 18:37
The fight for environmental justice in Boston will continue at the Moakley Courthouse. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday, April 11th, when Judge Patti Saris will hear cross-motions for summary judgment and the Stop the BU Bio-Terror Lab Coalition’s motion for a permanent injunction against the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Boston University’s (BU) bio-terror lab. This is a fight to save the Boston area, as well as surrounding communities, from the threat of accidental... [More]

Gene patents in the dock

by jeeg 11. April 2013 18:29
When Daniel Weaver pitches Genformatic to potential investors, he feels obliged to note a future legal uncertainty. The two-year-old company, based in Austin, Texas, offers whole-genome sequencing and analysis to researchers and physicians, with plans to apply the technology to medical diagnostics. But Weaver fears that the company could become ensnared in a thicket of thousands of patents. “Who knows how much it would cost in legal fees just to sort through that?” he says. Weaver... [More]
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