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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 February, 2004, 13:37 GMT
Human genome data to be released
By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor

dna, bbc
Soon to be available to anyone
The human genetic database compiled by the private company Celera Genomics is to be released to the public.

Celera completed a draft of the human genome three years ago at the same time that a rival, publicly funded, group of scientists finished its own draft.

Both groups announced the scientific milestone together at the White House.

Experts say the two versions of the human genetic code complement each other, and form the basis for finding the genetic causes of disease.

'Order and orientation'

At the time of the 2001 announcement, heralded as a major achievement in science, the Celera genome sequence was only available to paying subscribers of its database.

The rival sequence, obtained by the Human Genome Project (HGP) was publically available.

Now the Celera sequence is to join it. It will soon be deposited into GenBank, an online DNA database.

The two sequences used different techniques to obtain their results. Celera used a technique called the "shotgun" method. The HGP used it as well as another technique.

Writing in a forthcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Craig Venter, who led the Celera team, says that the Celera sequence had more "order and orientation" whereas the HGP sequence had better coverage of repeat DNA sequences.

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