dstates writes "An industry has grown up around patents guaranteeing exclusive access to testing of mutations in specific genes, but recently the Supreme Court rejected a biotechnology patent saying laws of nature cannot be patented, and threw the issue of patents on genes back to the lower courts. The Court of Appeals is now preparing to hear arguments on whether genes can be patented. The results will have major implications. On the one hand, restricting access to whole regions of the human genome will stifle scientific progress. On the other, companies like Myriad Genetics and Optimal Medicine use the patents to protect years of work invested in research, but this also means preventing other companies from offering diagnostics based on competing faster and lower cost technologies to analyze mutations in these genes."