On balance, the biotech industry scored a net win in last week's Supreme Court ruling in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics Inc. that isolated DNA sequences cannot be patented. The bar on patent claims for isolated DNA will have little practical effect, and any immediate downside is outweighed by the benefits of pushing aside a contentious issue that has tainted public perceptions of the industry and had the potential to inhibit basic scientific research.

The decision instantly provided patients access to cheaper breast cancer 1 early onset (BRCA1) and BRCA2 tests, gave academic scientists more freedom to operate, and immunized biotech companies from claims that they are trying to "own" the DNA that is present in every cell in every human.