Fight over revolutionary genetic advance goes to court in US

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Alexandria (United States) (AFP) – A fierce legal battle over the patent for a revolutionary gene-editing technique played out Tuesday in a US court, with billions of dollars at stake.

The tool called CRISPR-Cas9 — hailed as faster, cheaper and more accurate than current gene-snipping methods — holds fabulous promise for applications in medicine and agriculture.

It is to genetics what word processors meant as progress compared to typewriters.

In one corner of the fight are two women regularly considered possible candidates for a Nobel prize: French microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Institute in Berlin and biochemist Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley.

Opposing them is Feng Zhang, a leading light at the Broad Institute, a research facility affiliated with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Both sides claim to…

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