News of the WeekHUMAN GENOME

Academic Sequencers Challenge Celera in a Sprint to the Finish

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Science  19 Mar 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5409, pp. 1822-1823
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5409.1822

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Several large grants announced this week by the U.S. government and the Wellcome Trust, a U.K. charity, may make it possible for researchers to determine the order of the 3 billion bases in the human genetic code much earlier than expected--by the spring of 2000. On 15 March, the National Human Genome Research Institute announced that it had selected three major centers to do high-volume human DNA sequencing, awarding them $81.6 million over the next 10 months. At the same time, the Wellcome Trust upped this year's support of the human genome sequencing effort by the Sanger Centre in Cambridge, England, from $57 million to $77 million. But some fear that the smaller sequencing centers, left out of this round of competition, may become obsolete, and some international partners in the effort are feeling left out.