Genome Project: Joint Announcement Expected Next Week

Published June 23rd, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Private and public groups plan to make a joint announcement at the White House next week that they have completed a rough draft of the human genome, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. 

According to AFP, Tuesday, at a ceremony that may be attended by President Bill Clinton, the international public consortium called the Human Genome Project (HGP) and the private firm Celera Genomics, will jointly announce having established a near-complete mapping of the sequence of DNA letters that make up the human genetic code, the newspaper reported, citing government and industry sources. 

Although the White House said that it had no announcement to make as yet, spokesman Joe Lockhart said in an interview with AFP that, "When we have an announcement to make I expect that the president will be proud to stand up and make the announcement." 

Two months ago Celera Genomics president Craig Venter announced that his group had achieved the sequencing of the more than three billion DNA letters in the humane genome. 

But the next stage, and the subject of the reported announcement next week, will be sequencing of the letters in order, to create a rough map of the entire human genome. 

The joint announcement is the result of months of delicate talks to bring an end to the fierce rivalry between the public and private groups, bent on realizing what is billed as one of the biggest scientific achievements of the century. 

Joint publication of their research in a scientific journal later in the year is also under discussion, the newspaper said. 

Financed since 1990 by 18 nations, the HGP makes its discoveries available to researchers for free while Celera Genomics, founded as a commercial enterprise in 1998, plans to sell genome discoveries to academics and industry. 

According to AFP, neither Celera Genomics nor HGP were available for comment Tuesday. 

The mapping of the genome is an initial step opening the way for further research to identify the estimated 30,000 to 150,000 genes contained on each of the 23 pairs of chromosomes --(AFP).

© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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