Article Title

Narratives of Gene Patenting

Document Type



The decades-old debate over gene patenting in the United States reached a climax in June 2013 with the Supreme Court's decision in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics. The Myriad case was remarkable for many reasons, not least of which because it engaged hundreds of scientists, physicians, patients, lawyers, activists, and policy makers, each expressing strong, often opposing, views regarding the case and gene patenting more generally From this multitude of voices emerged six distinct narratives, which I term the Science, Innovator, Administrative, Access, Dystopian, and Congestion narratives In this Article, I trace the origins of each of the narratives in Myriad from press accounts, published literature, and the extensive record in the case. I then assess how each narrative influenced and became incorporated into the resulting decisions. This analysis demonstrates the strong influence of narrative on judicial decisionmaking, not only in the area of gene patenting, but more broadly across common law jurisprudence.

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