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Top Court: Extracted Human DNA Can't Be Patented

A lab technician at Myriad Genetics in Salt Lake City, Utah.
George Frey | AFP | Getty Images
A lab technician at Myriad Genetics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday issued a mixed ruling in a case concerning patents held by Myriad Genetics Inc over the closely watched issue of whether human genes can be patented.

In a unanimous vote, the nine justices reached a compromise by saying synthetically produced genetic material can be patented but that genes extracted from the human body, known as isolated DNA, do not merit the same legal protections.