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11/30/2012 03:31 pm ET Updated Jan 30, 2013

Patenting Human Genes To Be Decided By Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 30:  The U.S. Supreme Court building is draped in a photo-realistic sheet during a repair and prese
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 30: The U.S. Supreme Court building is draped in a photo-realistic sheet during a repair and preservation project November 30, 2012 in Washington, DC. The justices met today to consider hearing several cases dealing with the rights of gay couples who are married, want to get married or are in domestic partnerships. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Nov 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether human genes can be patented, a hotly contested issue with broad consequences for the future of gene-based medicine.

The nation's highest court agreed to review a case over whether Myriad Genetics Inc may patent two genes linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

In a 2-1 ruling on August 16, a panel of the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. upheld the biotechnology company's right to patent "isolated" genes that account for most inherited forms of the two cancers.

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