Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

All Eyes on Australia

Though not legally binding in the US, the decision of the Australian court hearing the gene patent case similar to Myriad's might intellectually influence the US Supreme Court when it hears Myriad's appeal, according to Genomics Law Report's John Conley. Earlier this month, several plaintiffs in Sydney sued Myriad and Australian company Genetic Technologies Limited — which is licensed to perform Myriad's gene tests in Australia — on the basis that the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are a natural product and, therefore, not patentable. "In a technical sense, the case will have no direct effects outside of Australia," Conley says. "The general principle of international patent law is 'non-extraterritoriality' — a jaw-breaker that means simply that a patent is enforceable only within the boundaries of the country that issues it." But the Australian court system is "well-regarded," Conley adds, and its decision could intellectually influence other courts. "So the new Australian case will be, at a minimum, a chance for that country to engage in a public debate over the wisdom and legality of patenting genes," Conley says. "But in the long term it could serve to undercut the practical value of genes patents everywhere."

The Scan

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.

Survey Sees Genetic Literacy on the Rise, Though Further Education Needed

Survey participants appear to have higher genetic familiarity, knowledge, and skills compared to 2013, though 'room for improvement' remains, an AJHG paper finds.

Study Reveals Molecular, Clinical Features in Colorectal Cancer Cases Involving Multiple Primary Tumors

Researchers compare mismatch repair, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutation burden patterns in synchronous multiple- or single primary colorectal cancers.

FarGen Phase One Sequences Exomes of Nearly 500 From Faroe Islands

The analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics finds few rare variants and limited geographic structure among Faroese individuals.