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The Good in Gene Patenting for BRCA1 and BRCA2 Essay

Decent Essays
Myriad Genetics is a biotech company that has a patent on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which exist in all humans. I have no problem with that. Myriad Genetics has done what they reasonably had to in order to compete with other companies. Companies should be able to hold patents on genes because it will fuel the growth of scientific research.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are two genes that have been patented by Myriad Genetics. These genes are not rare, they are found in everyone. One of the outstanding characteristics of these genes is their ability to naturally fix DNA. Myriad Genetics isolated the gene from the DNA sequence. The company has created a test that can reveal a possible mutation in those genes, which correlates with a higher breast and
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Rebecca Skloot writes about this issue on page 324 of her book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. “Myriad has been accused of creating a monopoly, since no one else can offer the test, and researchers can’t develop cheaper tests or new therapies without getting permission from Myriad and paying steep licensing fees.” Here, Skloot is accusing Myriad Genetics of having absolute power over the trade and supply of the genes. On the one hand, I agree with Skloot that Myriad has a monopoly. But on the other hand, I insist that a monopoly is not all bad. Myriad’s control over genes will, in effect, develop scientific treatments.
In order to continue surviving as a company, Myriad Genetics must gain some upper hand. They accomplished that by patenting the gene. To get their company started, Myriad needed financial support from private companies. Private companies would not fund a smaller company unless they were different and superior in some way. Myriad’s patent gave them just the control they needed to be seen as fundable. From this example, I want to emphasize how gene patents help scientific growth. If patents on genes were not available, companies like Myriad Genetics would not be able to stand out in a crowd of many gene researchers. People like to be rewarded for what they do, but if the chance of being rewarded for your years of hard work and money are very slim, then scientists may not be
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