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Who Owns Human Genes?

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geneLawrence O. Gostin, Faculty Director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University recently published an article in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

An extract of the piece is below as is a link to the complete article. Any questions or comments can be directed to


Angelina Jolie’s recent disclosure that she had undergone a prophylactic double mastectomy following a positive test for a BRCA1 mutation (which increases lifetime breast cancer risk by 60%-87%) prompted a national conversation about genetic testing and preventive surgery.1 Tests for BRCA1 and BRCA2 cost more than $3000, placing them beyond the reach of many women. The high cost is partly a consequence of intellectual property protection afforded to Myriad Genetics Inc, which sequenced the genes and developed the testing capability. 

The complete article can be found here.

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