London: The US Supreme Court has ruled private businesses cannot patent human genes.
The decision, scientists and civil rights campaigners said, removed a major barrier to patient care and medical innovation.
The Supreme Court ruled that human DNA was a product of nature, a basic tool of scientific and technological work, and therefore was beyond the domain of patent protection.
According to the Guardian, the court however said that synthetic genetic material could be patented, in a mixed ruling for the biotechnology industry.
The industry has argued that patents are necessary to recoup the billions of dollars it spends on research.
Myriad Genetics Inc, a Utah company, on two genes linked to a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Justice Clarence Thomas ruled that Myriad's assertion that the DNA it isolated from the human body for its tests were patentable had to be dismissed because it violated patent rules, the report said.
The court said that laws of nature, natural phenomena and abstract ideas lay outside patent protection.