Three dozen scientists, officials, and executives from academia, government, and business are speaking this week at a conference in McLean, Va., titled "Human Proteome Project: Genes Were Easy." This event, which is expected to draw at least 400 other participants, is the first sizable public meeting devoted to the possibility and advisability of a proteome project, according to organizer Chris Spivey, a conference director at Cambridge Healthtech Institute in Newton Upper Falls, Mass.

The Virginia conference is also hosting the first meeting of the Human Proteome Organisation (HUPO). One of its founders, Ian Humphery-Smith, a professor at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, describes HUPO as an international effort to bring commercial and academic groups together to study the output of all human genes. Professing certainty that proteomics is "an ocean in which many can swim and possibly even help one another stay afloat," Humphery-Smith, who is...

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