In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled human genes cannot be patented by companies.
Two patents held by Myriad Genetics Inc. on two genes linked to a high risk of ovarian and breast cancer were struck down by the court, but opponents say patent protection should not affect something that can be found inside the body.
Lower courts argued the genes could be patented because the DNA that was isolated and taken from the body had a "markedly different chemical structure" from DNA found naturally.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the decision that since DNA is a product of nature, it is not eligible for a patent just because it was isolated.
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