This is an interesting article on the question of whether companies can patent individual genes. My response went like this, and was submitted to the comments section:
I’m inclined toward the opinion that parts of the human genome aren’t patentable, because it’s like cutting a leaf off of a plant and trying to patent that – albeit on a smaller scale. If I were to create an entirely new leaf through some non-natural process, however, that would be patentable, and I probably would patent the process rather than the leaf itself, because then you can’t copy the leaf without the process, and then if one were to find a substantially different process to produce the same results, they should have patent protection for their process.
So maybe instead of trying to patent single genes, which is a trick that corporate pharmacological companies want to master for the sake of big-big profit, they should be more concerned with the honest pursuit of patents for isolation and diagnostic techniques. I’m not sure if that would make a difference in affordability and accessibility, but at least that would stop bringing up this absurd question of whether human genes can be patented.