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Thursday, 12 October, 2000, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
Mouse genome nears completion
Mice graphics
Decoding the mouse genome will aid medical research
Celera Genomics said on Thursday it had come close to unravelling the complete genome sequence of three strains of mice.

The US company said it had sequenced 9.3 billion base pairs, or letters of genetic code, of DNA for the three types of mouse, about 95% of the mouse genome.

"The mouse genome is an invaluable tool to interpret the human genome and in biomedical research using mice as animal models," Dr Craig Venter, president and chief scientific officer of Celera, said in a statement.

Dr Venter's company announced in July that it had produced a "first assembly" or rough draft of the human genome in which virtually all the letters of the human code had been read and placed in the right order.

"Our subscribers now have the mouse genome available to them to identify locations on the human genome where mouse and human genes and regulatory regions have been conserved through evolution," Dr Venter said. "[This] should aid these researchers in making important discoveries through this comparison of genomes."

A public-private consortium announced last week that they hoped to complete their first rough draft of a different strain of mouse by February.

The Mouse Sequencing Consortium, which includes the UK's Wellcome Trust and the US National Institutes of Health, said it would spend 39m ($58m) on the project.

At the time of the announcement, Dr Venter was reported to have criticised the project and suggested that the consortium could have better occupied its time and money by sequencing the genome of a species other than the mouse.

But the Wellcome Trust said the work of the consortium was complementary to that of Celera because it involved a different strain of mouse. The trust said its data would also be made freely available to researchers, unlike Celera's.

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06 Oct 00 | Sci/Tech
New chapter in the gene race?
02 Jun 00 | Sci/Tech
Complete mouse DNA map soon
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