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Celera and Science Spell Out Data Access Provisions

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Science  16 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5507, pp. 1191
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5507.1191

When J. Craig Venter announced in 1998 that his company, Celera Genomics of Rockville, Maryland, intended to sequence the human genome, he also promised that he would make the results freely available. This week, the promise is coming due. Science is publishing Celera's report, and Celera is publishing the underlying genomic sequence data on its own Web site ( According to terms negotiated between the company and Science, any reader will be able to view Celera's assembled genome at no cost through the Web site—or by obtaining computer disks from the company. Celera is also asking users to register and agree to specific conditions.

At a press briefing last week, Venter described the conditions as they apply to several broad categories of readers:

First, nonprofit researchers who want to search the database or download batches of DNA sequence (up to 1 megabase per week) may do so by mouse-clicking their agreement to a form on the Celera site. It requires that they not commercialize or distribute the data. However, they may use the information in research, in scientific articles, and in patents.

Second, academic users who want to download more than 1 megabase per week must submit a signed letter from an institution official agreeing to the terms above.

Third, scientists in industry or with commercial connections may use the data at no cost for the purpose of validating the results in the Science paper, after signing a materials transfer agreement promising not to use the data for commercial purposes.

Fourth, those who want to use the data for commercial purposes must first negotiate an agreement with the company.

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