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The controversy over human gene patents was reignited in March 2010 when a US Federal District Court decided that isolated human gene sequences are not patentable. An appeal is pending, although the US Department of justice filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case in late October, arguing that such gene sequences should not be patentable. Because this case may eventually find its way to the US Supreme Court, the ruling could have significant implications for gene-based medical therapies and for the biotechnology industry overall. It is therefore important to assess both the past and present context of this controversy, taking into account scientific research, health care access, and ethical concerns.


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