Expert Insight: Gene patenting in Australia

In a landmark ruling, the Federal Court of Australia has upheld a commercial patent on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, mutations of which can predispose to breast and ovarian cancer.

The ruling — the first time the validity of gene patents has been challenged in an Australian court — has triggered widespread concern for the future of genetic testing and research in Australia.

Neither of the companies concerned (Myriad Genetics, the US-based patent holder, or Genetic Technologies, a Melbourne-based company that holds the