Reversing a longstanding policy, the U.S. federal government has said that human and other genes should not be eligible for patents because they are part of nature. The new position could have a huge impact on medicine and on the biotechnology industry. The new position was declared in a friend of the court brief filed by the Department of Justice late Friday in a case involving two human genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer and published in the New York Times on October 29. “We acknowledge that this conclusion is contrary to the longstanding practice of the Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the practice of the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies that have in the past sought and obtained patents for isolated genomic DNA,” the brief said. For more on the issue, see the article here.