Progress, and Applications
of the Human Genome Project
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Human Genome Program
Human Genome News Archive Edition
In this issue...
In the News
Genetics in Medicine
Second Private Human Genome Sequencing Project Under Way
In August 1998, Incyte Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Palo Alto, California, announced plans to spend $200 million over the next 2 years to sequence human genes in its new unit, Incyte Genetics. Incyte also stated that it would acquire Hexagen Inc. (Cambridge, U.K.), which has developed a proprietary technique for identifying genetic variations in mice.
Incyte Genetics will concentrate on cataloguing SNPs. Using this knowledge to design drugs --an application of genetic data known as pharmacogenetics-- may help companies produce more effective therapeutics. The pace of development may be accelerated by genetically prescreening for appropriate participants in clinical trials.
The announcement came 3 months after another private company was formed for human genome sequencing. Celera Genomics, established by researcher J. Craig Venter (formerly president of The Institute for Genome Research) and Perkin-Elmer's Applied Biosystems Division, also is expected to focus on genes and their sequence variations [HGN9(3),1]
In contrast to the emphasis on identifying genes by these private companies, the sequence produced by the government-backed Human Genome Project (HGP) will reflect the entire, 3-billion-base human genome. Obtaining the complete reference human genome sequence will enable scientists to begin exploring the function of genes as well as important extragenic regions and their roles in human health and disease. The HGP also is funding the creation of clone resources for mapping and sequencing, bioinformatics and comparative genomics infrastructure, and next-generation sequencing technologies (see new goals).
All HGP data is freely accessible over the Internet and released daily for immediate use by scientists throughout the world. Celera plans to release data freely to the research community on a quarterly basis, and Incyte data will be available for a fee.
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Last modified: Wednesday, October 29, 2003
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