Gene Tests Likely to Spread

Immediately after the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday against the patenting of genes, several laboratories said they would begin genetic testing for breast cancer, an early sign of the likelihood that the tests will become more widely available and affordable. “It levels the playing field; we can all go out and compete,” the head of one testing company said. The ruling broke a nearly two-decade monopoly by Myriad Genetics on testing for mutations of the BRCA genes that indicate breast cancer. It will not, however, have much effect on the pharmaceutical or genetically engineered agriculture industries, both of which more often use synthetic DNA that is not covered by the decision.