This is the blog for GW students taking Human Evolutionary Genetics. This site is for posting interesting tidbits on: the patterns and processes of human genetic variation;human origins and migration; molecular adaptations to environment, lifestyle and disease; ancient and forensic DNA analyses; and genealogical reconstructions.

GWHEG figure

GWHEG figure

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Foreshadowed Case

In the aftermath of the Myriad ruling, many claimed that the Supreme Court had little understanding of how genetics actually worked. However, Justice Thomas' opinion should not have been surprising, as another recent case, Bowman v. Monsanto, had dealt with a somewhat similar issue regarding patented genes. In Bowman, the Supreme Court ruled that genetically modified seed could not be intentionally replicated through growth, harvest, and cleaning. This was because Bowman's growth technique constituted a non-natural process, and, therefore, directly recreated patented technology (which is illegal).

However, the Supreme Court very deliberately left out of the Bowman ruling any technologies that might self-replicate without intervention. Myriad was allowed to keep those patents that dealt with so-called non-naturally occurring/edited DNA, because it would have to be intentionally replicated (according to the Court's logic). Neither opinion makes that much sense, especially because DNA and seeds are self-replicating in nature.


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