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Breast cancer gene BRCA-1 cannot be patented, High Court rules.

The High Court has ruled that the breast cancer gene BRCA-1 cannot be patented.

Two-time cancer survivor Yvonne D’Arcy has led the legal battle over the ownership of the patent by US company Myriad Genetics.

At the heart of the case was the concern that ownership of the gene patent could stifle the research and development of treatments for genetic diseases.

Ms D’Arcy argued the genes existed in nature so were discovered rather than invented.

Lawyers for Ms D’Arcy told the High Court the genetic material covered in the patent was merely isolated, and was not eligible to be patented under Australian law.

But Myriad Genetics argued patents ensured that innovation could be commercialised for everyone’s benefit.

Before the Australian case, in 2013, the United States Supreme Court also ruled against the patent.

Specifically the US Court ruled that naturally occurring DNA was a product of nature and not patentable.

But the court did recognise synthetic DNA created in a laboratory, known as cDNA, was not a product of nature and could be patented.

This post originally appeared on ABC News. 

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