Judge Rejects Patents on Cancer Genes

A Manhattan judge ruled Monday that two genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are “the law of nature,” thereby nullifying seven patents by Myriad Genetics of Utah. Prior to the decision, women wishing to be tested for the indicators would have had to consult with the patent holder—at a cost of $3,000—but now the monopoly no longer applies.

Myriad argued that while isolating BRCA1 and BRCA2in its labs, it created chemicals that don’t exist in nature, but the judge didn’t buy that rationale, reports the Times. “It is the sequence created by nature that is the entire point of the gene,” Myles Jackson, a professor at Polytechnic Institute, wrote in a court submission. One of the plaintiffs in the case, Dr. Wendy Chung, called the ruling “a game changer,” considering that for-profit institutions and researchers have already laid claim to about 20 percent of the human genome, more than 4,300 genes in total.

Keep an eye on this case.

Judge Rejects Patents on Cancer Genes

The Social Media Bubble.

I’d like to advance a hypothesis: Despite all the excitement surrounding social media, the Internet isn’t connecting us as much as we think it is. It’s largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships…Call it relationship inflation. Nominally, you have a lot more relationships — but in reality, few, if any, are actually valuable. Just as currency inflation debases money, so social inflation debases relationships. The very word “relationship” is being cheapened. It used to mean someone you could count on. Today, it means someone you can swap bits with…Thin relationships are the illusion of real relationships. Real relationships are patterns of mutual investment. I invest in you, you invest in me. Parents, kids, spouses — all are multiple digit investments, of time, money, knowledge, and attention. The “relationships” at the heart of the social bubble aren’t real because they’re not marked by mutual investment . At most, they’re marked by a tiny chunk of information or attention here or there.

via Umair Haque.

The Social Media Bubble.