This paper discusses the genesis of human DNA patents and the legal confusion and ramifications that ensued. Beginning in the mid-1970s with policymakers and lawmakers in the United States, confronted with an economy impacted by an oil crisis, inflation, growing and persistent unemployment and the fledgling biotechnology industry, this paper tracks the development of the practice until its banning in the US Supreme Court in June 2013. The paper raises serious questions regarding the relevance of a patent system—a system that, as the patenting of naturally occurring biological materials demonstrates, is so easily manipulated through the use of legal contrivances. The paper outlines that potential future manipulation poses as a significant threat to the national economy and security of the United States if history is allowed to repeat itself in the context of biological materials.

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