PLEDGE NOW
Patenting Human Genes
Patient samples are loaded into a machine for testing at Myriad Genetics in Salt Lake City. (AP)

Patient samples are loaded into a machine for testing at Myriad Genetics in Salt Lake City. (AP)

Post your comments below

The human genetic code is a kind of miracle. It’s also a recipe for life.

It’s also widely seen as a giant business opportunity. Corporations, drug companies, are rapidly staking claims.

Twenty percent of the human genome has already been patented — sewn up for research and profit in the emerging field of genetic medicine. And it’s fiercely defended.

Gene patenting is controversial, but it’s the law of the land. A lawsuit headed to court right now would change that.

This hour, On Point: Playing God, pushing research, and patenting the human genome.

Guests:

Joining us from Salt Lake City is Tom Harvey, business reporter at The Salt Lake Tribune, where he’s covering the Myriad Genetics case.

Joining us from New York is Chris Hansen, Senior National Staff Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union. He is lead attorney in the gene patenting lawsuit that pits the ACLU against the Salt Lake City firm Myriad Genetics and the US Patent and Trademark Office. You can read the ACLU’s complaint here (pdf).

From Washington we’re joined by Hans Sauer, Associate General Counsel for Intellectual Property for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, known as BIO. Its membership includes more than 1,200 biotechnology companies and is aligned with Myriad Genetics in defense of gene patenting.

And from New York we’re joined by Wendy Chung, M.D., Ph.D., director of clinical genetics at Columbia University and a plaintiff in the ACLU v. Myriad Genetics case.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 27, 2015
Two persons are reflected in the FIFA logo at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings into FIFA's awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, only hours after seven soccer officials were arrested Wednesday pending extradition to the U.S. in a separate probe of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption. (AP)

Top officials at soccer’s international governing body FIFA arrested in Switzerland today on charges of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and bribery. We’ll dig in.

May 27, 2015
The logo from the new film, "(Dis)Honesty," which is also the logo for the Dishonesty Project. (The Dishonesty Project)

Are we natural born liars? Is it human to lie? Inside the new documentary, ” (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies.”

RECENT
SHOWS
May 26, 2015
The saola is an exceedingly rare mammal found in the mountains of Southeast Asia. (Wikicommons)

Endangered species and the search for one of the world’s rarest creatures deep into the wilds of central Laos.

 
May 26, 2015
Blogger and activist Pamela Geller speaks at a conference she organized entitled “Stop Islamization of America,” in New York on Sept. 11, 2012. (AP)

Two new books on free speech–one by a former New York Times correspondent, the other a Fox News contributor. They don’t see eye to eye—and tell us why.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
1 Comment
 
Caller: ‘It Doesn’t Always Turn Out Okay’
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One caller shares her own story of an extremely premature birth. Her daughter, born at 22 1/2 weeks in 2012, was taken off life support after seven days.

More »
Comment