It wasn't easy getting to the 4th International Meeting on Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Complex Genome Analysis held Oct. 10-15 at the Wenner-Gren Foundation in Stockholm. A week earlier, as flight cancellations continued in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, SwissAir had declared bankruptcy and an SAS jet had crashed in Milan, further disrupting schedules. So it was little surprise that several speakers had to phone in their talks. But not J. Craig Venter, president and chief scientific officer of Celera Genomics Group in Rockville, Md., and the first keynote speaker.

"It is extremely important not to let the individuals who perpetrated these acts control our lives. I'm not controlled by them. We must all act in a normal fashion," he began, and then launched into an account of activities at Celera, past and future. But it was an unexpected musing about the uncertain present that explained...

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