In this riveting, behind-the-scenes courtroom drama, a brilliant legal team battles corporate greed and government overreach for our fundamental right to control our genes.
When Chris Hansen, an ACLU lawyer, learned that the US government was issuing patents for human genes to biotech companies, his first thought was: How can a corporation own what makes us who we are? Then he discovered that women were being charged exorbitant fees to test for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer—all because Myriad Genetics had patented the famous BRCA genes. So he sued them.
The Genome Defense gives us a front-row seat as Hansen and a team of ACLU lawyers, along with a committed group of activists, scientists, and physicians, take their one-in-a-million case all the way to the US Supreme Court. Jorge L. Contreras, an attorney at the forefront of genetics law, interviews more than a hundred key players as he lays out the groundbreaking legal strategy to challenge human gene patents. The culmination of years of work, his book is both an intimate look at the cancer survivors whose lives have been affected by this case and a sweeping investigation into the fallout from our technological age of discovery.
Like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Genome Defense is a powerful and compelling story about how society struggles to balance scientific advancement, corporate profits, and the rights of all people.