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$10.4B knocked off genomics stocks

Investors dumped genomics stocks on Tuesday on erroneous media reports from the White House that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has decided that genes cannot be patented.

The sell-off followed a press briefing regarding a statement on the Human Genome Project issued by President Clinton and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair. MSNBC paraphrased White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart as saying that "the U.S. Patent Office has decided that scientists cannot obtain patents for individual genes."

By market close, 12 genomics stocks had lost $10.4 billion in aggregate market cap, and

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