In what could prove to be a landmark ruling the Federal Court of Australia had upheld a patent on a genetic sequence awarded to Genetic Technologies. The gene in question is BRCA1, which when defective can increase a woman's chances of contacting breast or ovarian cancer by up to 65%.
What's troubling here is that Genetics had previously used the patent to halt work by some research centres into the defective gene. Something they only backed down from after loud public protest.
It's also worrying that a patent can be awarded to a discovery. It's certainly taken some time and effort on the part of Genetics to sequence the gene, but to suggest that they 'own' that genetic code after having done so is nonsense. It does not pass the test of being an invention or non obvious.
Preventing other practitioners from using the information in attempting to research a cure goes against everything that is sane.
Share the information and allow multiple teams to work with it. Perhaps then we'll reach a point where someone is able to correct a defective gene and ultimately save millions of lives.
This unseemly rush to profit above all else is unhealthy and morally wrong.