NPR 2020.11.20: All Your Genes Are Belong To Us
Myriad Genetics is a publicly traded company. On nasdaq, its ticker symbol is MYGN, currently at $17.21 per share. The high was $61 on Nov 10, 2000.
Who owns our genes, anyway? For a while, Big Biotech patented 20% of the human genome. Then a lawyer took them to the Supreme Court.
In 2005, Chris Hansen, a lawyer at the ACLU, heard that a biotech company called Myriad Genetics had identified a gene responsible for most types of inherited breast and ovarian cancer… and then patented it.
With its patent, Myriad could effectively block anyone else from doing comprehensive testing or in some cases even doing research on the gene. And Chris thought that this was definitely not okay.
Today on the show, the story of the rise and fall of gene patents, and how the Supreme Court answered the question: Who do your genes belong to? It’s Big Biotech versus the right to the information encoded in our very DNA, and how that fight went all the way to the Supreme Court. Come for the deoxyribonucleic acid — stay for the chocolate chip cookies and baseball bats.