As predicted last week on the CrashList, Britain's Sanger Centre for genome
research, based in Cambridge, has won the race to decode the human 'book of
life'. Commentators are calling it the greatest step in human understanding
since Tycho Brahe's observations of planetary movements led to the
heliocentric model of the universe. The struggle between British
publicly-funded science and US GE monopolies has assumed intense ideological
proportions. The struggle to decode the human genome became a race between
American GE firm Celera, and British publicly-funded science, with its
commitment to open access to genomic code and rejection of the privatisation
of human genes.

According to agreements announced today, the preliminary 'First Draft' of
the 'Book of Life' will be jointly published by the Sanger Centre and
Celera; Venter has abandoned the race and is to concentrate on follow-up
research. The human genome will not be privatised.

Mark Jones

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