A High-Stakes Gamble on Genome Sequencing

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Science  18 Jun 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5422, pp. 1906-1909
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5422.1906

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ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND-- J. Craig Venter's commercial venture to sequence the human genome, and those of several other complex organisms, has shaken up the international Human Genome Project. Even as his new company, Celera Genomics, tries to convert raw biology into a business, Venter is promising that he will "give away" one of the first, and most important, fruits of this $300 million-plus venture--the DNA sequence of the human genome. The schedule calls for finishing the human genome--the Holy Grail of the nonprofit Human Genome Project, now in its 10th year--and those of at least three other complex organisms in just 18 months. How can Celera do this and make money?