A major academic research center and three private companies are touting their recently announced functional-genomics consortium as the first of its kind. Officials from the participating entities as well as industry analysts are unsure whether the partnership will inspire similar deals, and they differ on whether it will launch a trend whose net result is more jobs for scientists.

DANGER? Dorin Schumacher of the Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research warns of a "non- peer-review research funding process."
The participants in the consortium are the Whitehead Institute/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Genome Research in Cambridge, Mass.; Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. of New York; Affymetrix Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif.; and Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Cambridge. Under the deal, announced in late April, the private companies will contribute a total of $8 million per year for five years, as well as some of their own scientists and resources, to explore how to...

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