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Public Human Genome
Jamais Cascio, 29 Feb 04

The Human Genome Project completed its first draft listing of humankind's genetic blueprint in 2001, but did so in an unusual way. A publicly-funded, international consortium finished a draft blueprint and made the data available via the U.S. National Institutes of Health, while a private concern, Celera, completed an alternative draft -- which varied in some important ways -- but kept the data largely private, only available to corporate subscribers. Fortunately, according to the Genome News Network, that's about to change.

Now the complete Celera sequence, which included publicly available data generated by the HGP, will be in the public domain.

A second Celera human genome sequence, this one created months after the first and never made public, will also be placed in GenBank. The second sequence includes only DNA sequences generated at Celera.


Differences in the sequences are attributable at least in part to the methods used, say the researchers. Celera used the whole-genome shotgun method, while the HGP used a more traditional method as well as the shotgun method.

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If you have not yet done so, you might want to think about reading Lewontin - Biology as ideology - 1991, Harper Perennial for a compelling discussion refuting many of the commonly held scientific rhetorics around the importance of the gene and specifically the problems with the underlying premise of the Human Genome Project (and the societal issues supporters purport it will solve).

Posted by: Stacy Frauwirth on 2 Mar 04

Let's not forget that "the human genome" is currently only the genome of one or two people, the CEO of Celera among them. Only when most of the different populations have been sequenced will we know how much of Craig Venter's genome is common to us all.

Posted by: Alton on 2 Mar 04



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