Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Letter Re "Justices, 9-0, Bar Patenting Human Genes," NY Times

We are surprised that the Supreme Court has found that complementary DNA (cDNA) is patentable, stating that it is not a product of nature. cDNA is just the transcription back into DNA of messenger RNA (mRNA), which is emphatically a natural product. The court appears to ascribe a magical synthetic quality to the reverse transcriptase enzyme lab technicians use to transform mRNA into DNA. In fact, there is a functional reverse transcriptase in the human genome that creates many pseudogenes from human mRNAs. Contrary to part c of the court's opinion, some of these pseudogenes are not random bits of junk, but have essential biological functions. In fact, BRCA1 itself has a known pseudogene, and there are other pseudogenes known to play a role in cancer.

Roger Alexander & Mark Gerstein

Unpublished letter in response to:
Justices, 9-0, Bar Patenting Human Genes
Published: June 13, 2013