Green light for patents on human genes

Private firms are allowed to hold a patent over cancer-causing gene mutations, according to an historic ruling in the Federal Court Friday that has wide-ranging implications for researchers and cancer patients.

The case centred on a gene mutation called BRCA1, which puts women who have the mutation at a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

A US biotechnology company, Myriad Genetics, had given exclusive rights in Australia to a patent on