A couple of posts from the excellent and incredibly thoughtful anthropologist/political ecologist Glenn Davis Stone. Oldies but goodies. It’s important to note the Stone is not anti-GM at all in principle; but he is anti-selective use of evidence and unbridled fanboyism. He also shares the common concerns about corporate domination of GM technology. ~MJC


The Myriad case – with its embedded nuclear bomb that would abolish most gene patents in the US – has been languishing on the Supreme Court’s desk ever since last year. The Supremes hadn’t accepted the appeal, or rejected the appeal, or said anything about the appeal, which was causing unbearable anxiety because gene patents are the bedrock on which the modern biotech industry – including medical and agri biotech – is built.

Quick background: this case is about a challenge to Myriad’s patent on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (some variants of which predispose women to breast and ovarian cancer), and on Myriad’s use of them in diagnostic tests. The plaintiffs argued that not only was the patent on the diagnostic test invalid, but so were patents on genes themselves. Gene patents are the bread and butter for medical biotech firms like Genentech and agri-biotech firms like Monsanto. But…

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