Freeing genetic data for the common good

Sharing your BRCA genetic test results can help others with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer

pondering dna.fwThe Supreme Court of the United States ruled in June 2013 that naturally occurring human DNA cannot be patented, after hearing a case centering on patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes held by Myriad Genetic Laboratories. The decision led to several new laboratories beginning to offer testing of the BRCA genes, but also highlighted a related problem with interpreting results from the testing. Freeing genetic data can help.

Why would freeing your genetic data help?

Interpretation of genetic test results is a complicated process that depends on available data and some amount of comparison with results from other patients and families. Many scientists have advocated for use of open databases where research and commercial laboratories could come together to share results.

Combining data from many sources increases the ability to understand results for individual patients. Researchers and health care providers have been contributing information about BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations to the National Center for Continue reading