Can sequences turn a profit?

The public release of the draft mouse genome sequence reopens the debate on the commercial viability of genome sequencing.

Tabitha Powledge(tam@nasw.org)
May 15, 2002

MARYLAND — Michael C. Nehls calls it "a breakthrough that is already changing how we will elucidate novel biology in order to advance medicine." He is just one among thousands of biomedical researchers who expect to profit from the public release of the draft mouse genome sequence last week.

In Nehls's case, the profit could be financial as well as intellectual. He is CEO of Ingenium Pharmaceuticals AG, a Munich company that seeks to identify gene function by screening randomly mutated mice for abnormalities relevant to human disorders and then identifying which genes are involved and what they do. It took eight Ingenium researchers four years to clone the mutation that causes the so-called nude phenotype. The nude mouse is a critical model for biomedical research because it lacks a mature immune system. In combination with technologies such as analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), the availability of the...

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