Bio-tech companies own 20% of your genes. Is patenting the only way to fund life-saving medical research? Or has it become a genetic landgrab, price-gouging the vulnerable?
"I think the greatest thing I did was to create Myriad", says Mark Skolnick, founder of the company that discovered and patented two breast cancer genes. Many women struggling for diagnosis and affordable treatment disagree. Joanna was tested for the breast cancer gene: "it cost $4000 to find out I had the gene; getting a second opinion was illegal." In 2010, a judge ruled that no one had the right to own a human gene. Dr Wendy Chung was overjoyed. Finally her patients who had genes that warned of "a 50 to 85% chance of developing some kind of cancer" could be told. As Myriad appeals to the Supreme Court the gene war rages on - the decision reached there could have dire consequences for us all.
Produced By ABC Australia
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