Researchers, discouraged by mapping's drudgery, doubt that a 5-year plan to finish high-resolution image is now feasible.
WASHINGTON--After three years of escalating expectations, rising financial support, and congressional accolades, the Human Genome Initiative has encountered its first major hurdle. A key element of the project has fallen several years behind schedule, in part because peer review panels at the National Institutes of Health decided that some incoming grant proposals on the topic were "boring." Of those scientists who were funded, many have diverted part of their research toward more tantalizing pursuits. The process of catching up may require a dramatic rethinking of many of the strategies of the 15-year, $3 billion project.

The immediate obstacle stems from a lack of progress on the so-called linkage map of the genome. The term refers to a list that links human traits and their associated genes to locations on the human DNA molecule....

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