One week ago, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its opinion in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, which impacts patent rights in agricultural and non-agricultural biotechnology.

The Supreme Court decision defined patentable subject matter in the context of biotechnology, finding the isolation of DNA from a genome to be a product of nature, and not a "new and useful...composition of matter" that could be protected under patent law.

At the same time, patent claims relating to what the Court referred to as complementary DNA ("cDNA") were found to be patentable.

While the Supreme Court's decision upheld the patentability of cDNA, the Court's decision regarding isolated DNA is a deviation from past judicial and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office interpretations of patentable subject matter in the U.S.

New and useful advances in biotechnology are important not only for identifying and treating disease, but are also part of the solution for preventing malnutrition and hunger - two of the most prevalent causes of death and illness in our world today.