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Taking Genes to Court

The ACLU is making its argument in federal court today against gene patenting, specifically against the BRCA1 and BRCA2 patents held by Myriad Genetics. The Boston Globe weighs in with an editorial stating that allowing patents on human genes "violates the principles of patent law, stifles innovation, and casts a shadow on the best prospects to cure disease." It then concludes that "eliminating these patents would attract new researchers and sources of capital that could lead to treatments for many diseases, including Alzheimer's and cancer. It would also encourage market competition for tests and treatments based on gene sequences, saving money as well as lives." However, Kevin Noonan at Patent Docs disagrees. "On the contrary, without these patents there would be much less investment, and it is difficult to see how there could be more basic research than is already being done. "Market competition" is fine, but the concept can't be cherry-picked — the very market that promotes competition can completely stifle progress by precluding the conditions necessary to attract investment," he writes.

The Scan

Gone, But Now Reconstructed SARS-CoV-2 Genomes

In a preprint, a researcher describes his recovery of viral sequences that had been removed from a common database.

Rare Heart Inflammation Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is adding a warning about links between a rare inflammatory heart condition and two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, Reuters reports.

Sandwich Sampling

The New York Times sent tuna sandwiches for PCR analysis.

Nature Papers Describe Gut Viruses, New Format for Storing Quantitative Genomic Data, More

In Nature this week: catalog of DNA viruses of the human gut microbiome, new dense depth data dump format to store quantitative genomic data, and more.