A long-awaited patent trial over pioneering DNA research got off to a hostile start Tuesday when an attorney for the University of California accused Genentech Inc. of stealing the science it used for making lucrative human growth hormone.

Morrison & Foerster partner Gerald Dodson argued in his opening statement that Genentech didn’t have the genetic material it needed until former UC-San Francisco researcher Peter Seeburg paid a stealthy visit to his old laboratory on New Year’s Eve 1978.