Genetic Research

Wikimedia -- Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that segments of naturally-occurring human genes cannot be patented. The ruling may change the focus of genomic research, but it won't stop it.

Professor Andrew Torrance specializes in biotechnology patent law at the University of Kansas. He says the ruling falls hardest on companies that have invested billions of dollars, hoping to profit from patents on human gene fragments like those that help reveal a person’s risk for breast cancer.

Mark McDonald / Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics

Recent advances in genome sequencing, including a technology developed at Children’s Mercy Hospital known as "fast sequencing," are helping medical professionals diagnose often-fatal diseases.