Genetic Future

My previous post on the Myriad gene patent decision has resulted in one of the most useful and enjoyable comment threads in the history of this blog

The debate revolves around a single, central question: while it’s clear that the loss of gene-based patent protection (should the current decision be upheld by the Supreme Court) will be beneficial for companies and academic labs seeking to develop multi-gene tests – extending up to whole-genome sequencing – will these benefits come at a disastrous cost to the field as a whole by eroding financial incentives for innovation? 
This outcome is being waved around by various people (Nature News’ piece on the patent decision is sub-titled “Court ruling may spell bad news for biotech industry”). However, several commenters in the thread make devastating arguments against this claim, and I’m being swayed towards the idea that the concerns about stifling of innovation are overblown.
Many thanks to Dan Vorhaus, Linda Avey, Keith Grimaldi, p-ter and others for their civil and constructive comments.

Comments

  1. #1 daedalus2u
    April 2, 2010

    This will be a net positive, a big net positive. Giving any entity monopoly control over something with as trivial an intellectual effort as simply sequencing it is nonsense.

  2. #2 Henry
    April 10, 2010

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