News of the WeekHuman Genome Project

NIH to Produce a 'Working Draft' of the Genome by 2001

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Science  18 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5384, pp. 1774-1775
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5384.1774

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Faced with growing competition from private companies, such as a new venture formed by DNA sequencer J. Craig Venter and the Perkin-Elmer Corp., the U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) unveiled a 5-year plan this week that promises to produce a "working draft" of the human genome--including highly accurate sequences of most of the protein-coding regions--by 2001. The plan also promises to yield a polished, gold-standard version of the entire genome by 2003, 2 years ahead of the old schedule. If successful, this radical change of plan will not only speed up the pace at government-funded labs but also, according to some of NHGRI's advisers, release data so rapidly that companies like Perkin-Elmer may not be able to get exclusive rights to all the DNA they hoped to patent.