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Behind the Sequence

At the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting held in San Francisco, Celera Genomics CEO J. Craig Venter and National Human Genome Research Institute director Francis S. Collins spent considerable time appeasing autograph seekers at their respective plenary lectures--the former, signing dozens of copies of the February 16 issue of AAAS's journal Science, the latter, copies of the February 15 issue of Nature. They were the sorts of receptions usually experienced by roc

Eugene Russo

At the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting held in San Francisco, Celera Genomics CEO J. Craig Venter and National Human Genome Research Institute director Francis S. Collins spent considerable time appeasing autograph seekers at their respective plenary lectures--the former, signing dozens of copies of the February 16 issue of AAAS's journal Science, the latter, copies of the February 15 issue of Nature. They were the sorts of receptions usually experienced by rock stars, not scientists. But, of course, these were no ordinary issues of Nature and Science.

The landmark human genome papers that appeared in mid-February-- published by rival research groups and, after months of arduous negotiations, by rival journals Nature and Science1-3--represent more than milestones of scientific achievement. They're also, in the words of University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Arthur Caplan, "case studies in how fundamentally values infuse science" in...

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