News of the WeekGenomics

Drug Firms to Create Public Database of Genetic Mutations

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Science  16 Apr 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5413, pp. 406-407
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5413.406

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This week, 10 large pharmaceutical companies and a British charity announced that they will spend $45 million to create an archive of human genetic variation--and give it away. To avoid having to buy multiple, private data collections from the half-dozen or so biotech firms that are already collecting what are known as single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs--single-base variations that can serve as physical landmarks along the 3 billion bases of the human genome--these fiercely competitive companies are teaming up to bankroll work by a network of academic labs. The collaboration will release proprietary data free of charge to all comers by publishing it every quarter on the Internet, organizers say, no strings attached.