CRG Statement: Supreme Court Ruling Invalidates Gene Patents

by jeeg 13. June 2013 22:08
Today the Supreme Court issued a resounding no to the question of whether human genes can be patented.  In a unanimous decision the Court held that “a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated…the portion of the DNA isolated from its natural state sought to be patented is identical to that portion of the DNA in its natural state.”   This is a great victory for the Council for Responsible G... [More]

DNA proposals in South Africa ‘violate rights of the innocent’

by jeeg 13. June 2013 21:17
Latest version of law to create DNA database criticised for having provisions that violate human rights of innocent persons WHILE the latest version of a law to create a DNA database has been welcomed as an improvement on the 2009 version, it has been criticised for having provisions that violate the human rights of innocent persons. The Criminal Law Forensic Procedures Bill seeks to allow the police and medical personnel to take body samples from a wide range of persons to develop a D... [More]

Supreme Court says isolated human genes cannot be patented

by jeeg 13. June 2013 20:59
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that companies cannot patent parts of naturally-occurring human genes, a decision with the potential to profoundly affect the emerging and lucrative medical and biotechnology industries. The high court’s unanimous judgment reverses three decades of patent awards by government officials. It throws out patents held by Myriad Genetics Inc. on an increasingly popular breast cancer test brought into the public eye recently by actress Angelina Jolie’... [More]

Scientists say new study shows pig health hurt by GMO feed

by jeeg 12. June 2013 22:41
Pigs fed a diet of only genetically modified grain showed markedly higher stomach inflammation than pigs who dined on conventional feed, according to a new study by a team of Australian scientists and U.S. researchers. The study adds to an intensifying public debate over the impact of genetically modified crops, which are widely used by U.S. and Latin American farmers and in many other countries around the world. The study was published in the June issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Organic... [More]

Cited by a Justice, but Feeling Less Than Honored

by jeeg 11. June 2013 23:36
Authors usually like it when the Supreme Court cites their work. But a reference to a book in an opinion last week is drawing mixed reviews. The case, Maryland v. King, was about whether the authorities may take DNA samples from people arrested in connection with serious crimes. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the five-justice majority, drew on a 2000 book by the founders of the Innocence Project and a newspaper columnist to explain why this was a good idea. “In the inter... [More]

Glowing Plants: Crowdsourced Genetic Engineering Project Ignites Controversy

by jeeg 11. June 2013 23:18
In April three biohackers from a California Do-It-Yourself biology lab, BioCurious, posted a Kickstarter campaign to crowdsource their plan to bioengineer a glowing plant. They asked for $65,000. But by the close of their campaign at midnight on Thursday, June 6, they had raised a remarkable $484,013. (Meanwhile, BioCurious itself is in financial trouble.) It was the first time anyone had kick-started a genetic engineering project. The group had hit upon a new method for funding biotech,... [More]

A Patent on Life-CRG Board Chair Sheldon Krimsky interviewed on The Myriad Gene Patent Case

by jeeg 8. June 2013 00:20
In May, the actress Angelina Jolie announced she had a preventive double mastectomy after learning she inherited a faulty copy of the BRCA1 gene, which put her at a high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. The genetic testing that gave her this information can only be conducted by one company, Myriad Genetics, which owns a patent on the gene sequences for BRCA1 and a related gene, BRCA2. Soon the U.S. Supreme Court will decide if Myriad Genetics, based in Utah, can continue to hold the ... [More]

Ownership of Genes Stops Research

by jeeg 7. June 2013 20:58
Gene patents have both restricted and distorted research. The clearest example is the way Myriad Genetics has used its patents on BRCA genes to become the sole provider of comprehensive BRCA testing, shutting down many of the early BRCA testing services that were part of genetics research projects. The company’s aggressive approach also had a chilling effect on other scientists, who pursued alternative avenues of research rather than contend with possibly endless litigation. Researc... [More]

Debbie Stabenow Pledges To Oppose Monsanto Protection Act Extension Without Full Debate

by jeeg 6. June 2013 21:09
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the chairwoman of the Agriculture Committee, pledged to oppose the extension of the so-called the Monsanto Protection Act, a victory for advocates who have been pressing for its repeal. Stabenow made her pledge in a conversation with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who has been pushing the Senate to vote on an amendment to the farm bill that would repeal the provision. That vote was blocked by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and on Thursday morning the Senate voted to e... [More]

Ben & Jerry's Will Stop Using Genetically-Modified Ingredients, Company Says

by jeeg 5. June 2013 20:46
Ben & Jerry's is removing a controversial ingredient from its ice cream: Genetically-modified organisms. As of now, only 80% of Ben & Jerry's ingredients are sourced non-GMO, according to the ice cream maker. But by the end of the year, the company aims to completely phase out genetically modified products from its ice cream. The Vermont-based ice cream maker said on its website that the undertaking will be "complex" because a single flavor can contain up to 40 ingredients. As a resu... [More]
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