Numerous defenders of Myriad often claim that the patents do not cover naturally-occurring genes, but rather only "methods" created by humans, or "isolated and purified" genes, which they allege can only be created by man. After all, they claim, isolated genes do not appear in nature, and it takes the work of humans to create them. This is, of course, hogwash. Isolating a gene is accomplished in nature in the process of cellular metabolism. Protein synthesis is accomplished without human intervention, much less, human invention, because various forms of RNA read the beginnings and ends of genes, omit the introns, and construct proteins from the remaining (exon) codons. So, merely finding the beginning and end of a gene is, as I have analogized in my book and elsewhere, equivalent to reading a map, and noting a geographical feature therein. Nature made the feature, and defined its borders, and we simply find it and model it. So that's the "isolation" and it doesn't warrant patent.
The "purification" part is part of nature's bag of tricks too, as mRNA skips the introns (the non-protein coding regions), and in fact some laboratory methods for creating cDNA (thus "purifying" DNA) use mRNA to accomplish this. Again, nothing at all inventive.
Finally, the Myriad patents on BRCA1 and 2 claim un-modified genes -- mutations in the BRCA1 and 2 gene that occur naturally. Their sole inventive claim is "isolation." See the patent yourself, and look at the claims (pp. 153-156). Look specifically at this:
"1. An isolated DNA coding for a BRCA1 polypeptide, said polypeptide having the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO:2.
2. The isolated DNA of claim 1, wherein said DNA has the nucleotide sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO:1.
5. An isolated DNA having at least 15 nucleotides of the DNA of claim 1.
6. An isolated DNA having at least 15 nucleotides of the DNA of claim 2."
Now, note: these are not method claims, they are not claims for cDNA, but rather over naturally-occurring mutations to naturally-occurring genes. As I discuss above, and in my book, and elsewhere in this blog, this is not inventive at all. Rewarding for discovery of laws of nature goes beyond the scope of patent, and it inhibits research, and access to the "commons by necessity" that is the human genome and laws of nature in general.
It is like saying that since detached bird wings do not exist in nature, one ought to be able to patent detached bird wings. It's madness, and everyone except patent lawyers and others getting wealthy off this insanity can see that.