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Curated by Artur Alves
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Supreme Court blocks patenting of genomic DNA

Supreme Court blocks patenting of genomic DNA | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Micah Baldwin



The US Supreme Court, in a nearly unanimous ruling (Scalia joined the majority, but only in part), has held that a piece of DNA that occurs naturally is not eligible for patenting.
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Whose DNA is it anyway? | Bioethics.net

The 1000 Genomes Project has collected anonymous DNA samples from people all over the world. By looking at this massive data set, the project hopes to discover genetic components of diseases or traits. Their data and the sequences are publicly available on the Internet.

Artur Alves's insight:

"This comes at an interesting time. Federal agencies are reconsidering the rules and regulations regarding privacy and confidentiality and research in tissue samples. Again, there was a belief that a person could not be identified (yet) from a simple tissue sample or leftover tissue from a clinical test. But now, such an assumption is called into doubt. With cheaper DNA sequencing, and only needing to sequence small parts of the genome, re-identification of samples is not only more likely, it is possible.

Perhaps the notion of privacy and confidentiality is quaint and outdated. After all, people willingly share the intimate details of their lives through social media platforms. And with the prevalence of cameras everywhere recording us and GPS on our cell phones knowing our every step, the idea of a private life may be a thing of the past. Younger generations have little expectation of any sort of privacy.

In the meantime, the NIH has removed people’s ages from their databases in the in the hopes of preventing more re-identifying. The long-term solutions, however, remain to be developed."

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