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Genome Project Planners Vie For Leadership

WASHINGTON—in the three years since it was first proposed, the U.S. effort to map and sequence the human genome has joined the ranks of Big $cience with astonishing speed. Unlike the prospects for such controversial megaprojects as the superconducting supercollider and the space station, funding for the genome project appears to be going nowhere but up. The Bush administration has requested a total of $128 million more than double the current level of $53 million, and Congress appears

Christopher Anderson

WASHINGTON—in the three years since it was first proposed, the U.S. effort to map and sequence the human genome has joined the ranks of Big $cience with astonishing speed. Unlike the prospects for such controversial megaprojects as the superconducting supercollider and the space station, funding for the genome project appears to be going nowhere but up. The Bush administration has requested a total of $128 million more than double the current level of $53 million, and Congress appears to. be willing to go along. Even at an eventual cost of some $3 billion, few doubt the value to humanity in knowing the entire sequence of the three billion base pairs that comprise our 100,000 or so genes.

But these encouraging signs hide the major hurdles that lie ahead. Next week the NIH’s Human Genome Advisory Committee, headed by Rockefeller University biologist Norton Zinder, will meet to begin drafting a report...

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