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'Shotgun Wedding': Public, Private Drosophila Sequencing Agreement Should Speed Project, Ensure Accuracy

When J. Craig Venter proposed last May to use the "shotgun" technique to sequence Drosophila, many scientists doubted that blasting such a large genome into billions of base pairs, then reassembling it in one fell swoop would succeed.1 On the brink of the project's beginning, skepticism remains. But an agreement between Celera Genomics Corp. of Rockville, Md., and the University of California at Berkeley's Drosophila Genome Project Group, may render that uncertainty irrelevant. The Berkeley gr

Paul Smaglik

When J. Craig Venter proposed last May to use the "shotgun" technique to sequence Drosophila, many scientists doubted that blasting such a large genome into billions of base pairs, then reassembling it in one fell swoop would succeed.1 On the brink of the project's beginning, skepticism remains.

But an agreement between Celera Genomics Corp. of Rockville, Md., and the University of California at Berkeley's Drosophila Genome Project Group, may render that uncertainty irrelevant. The Berkeley group will essentially draft both a cheat sheet and a safety net for the Celera project, by completing the fruit fly's gene map and by generating about 12,500 unfinished Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) end sequences. The Celera group, in addition to producing raw shotgun data, will sequence the Berkeley BAC ends.

Those two features will aid both teams in reassembling the Drosophila genome, notes Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome...

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