A Rejoinder in Crass Humor: A Case of Corporate Genes

A company not many have heard of.  
A company that holds exclusive rights (patents) on BRCA1 and BRCA2.
Still the waters are murky. Big deal, so what? Hold on, hold on….before the spurting of curt questions….
One must know what would holding patents to these genes entail.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are related to Breast and Ovarian cancers, and the patents are held by a Utah-based corporation, “Myriad Genetics”. Now, the curtness turns biting to oneself. Corporations are not people, but Corporations design people, build people, and ultimately own people. And, this is the incipient truth.
Imagine this:
Patients want to know if they have mutations and hence would want to go in for genetic testing. These mutations are associated with genes that have a significantly increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Myriad Genetics apparently created something patent-able by isolating these genes from the body. The tussle reaches the Supreme Court. Nine brilliant minds on legal affairs try their luck with genetic affairs now. One judge quips, “If you could get a super-microscope and look at what they have with the cDNA,you would discover something with an A there, you see, and you wouldn’t discover something with a U there. And there is no such thing in nature as the no-introns AGG, whatever.” This one judge is formally listed as Stephen Breyer…good nomenclature, and if one were to ask why?, well, if the justices could rant on genes, why can’t I rant on nomenclatures. Evens Stevens…elementary. Getting the green signal, and therefore moving on, there is an encounter with building blocks of life getting smashed into their juridical equivalents of cookies, baseball bats (good, IPL is yet to infect these judges!!) and bodily organs.
WELL, SWITCH SENSIBILITIES, this is all that is happening in the real space, and not the reel space of some over the edge, scifi derangement flick.
I use salt, sugar, baking powder, butter some kinda essence and bake a cake. I patent it depending on procedural techniques and a habit of good luck. So far, so good. so what? I cannot fight the right to the basic ingredients. Can I?
A cricket bat (sorry, you baseballers!!!) is a cricket bat, because it is isolated from the tree, branch, trunk. SO? Similarly, a genetic sequencing isn’t really a naturally occurring one, since geneticists isolate and recombine them in ways that is patentable. WOW. Amazoningly lost. Even a word called “Gobbledygook” says it could be understood. Let us contort the proverb and make it sound: kissing the weed for the cheese!!!
My funny bones are getting lame now. Time to get soporific. Why should Corporations own genes? was the case in point at the Supreme Court, and all of this sounded like some eternally coruscating slapstick from the heydays of 3 Stooges (personally, they are my all time favourites).
A twist to the grim side of life is what Peter Meldrum (he is retired since), CEO of Myriad Genetics echoes,
“were essential to developing diagnostic tools that have been used by more than 1 million women to understand their hereditary risks of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.”…..
“Were these molecules derived in part from natural material? Sure. But that is true of many patents. Labs routinely turn naturally found molecules into innovative medicines and get patent protection.”….
Our tests are also accessible; some 95 percent of patients get insurance coverage, and we offer the test for free to those who cannot afford it….
and lastly,
“Our patents have also promoted additional research; 18,000 scientists have studied the genes, resulting in 10,000 published papers.”……
A corporation that brags, commodifies the body in ways similar to a general who orders a massacre and brags medallions and stars on his uniform cannot be fought on cavils anymore. If this reality does not seep in, we could even be late for eating crows, for this would mean non-extant existence, denuding our senses to more and more invasions, making us vulnerable to corporatized-demon[crazy]-ness. Whatever, whatever could mean……

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