Leaders of separate public and private efforts to sequence the human genome used words such as "cooperation," "collaboration," and "partnership" to describe their intentions toward each other during a hearing last month in Washington, D.C. But both projects appear headed on separate, although not quite independent, courses.

The private project--a joint venture between Perkin-Elmer Inc., a Norwalk, Conn.-based manufacturer of sequencing equipment, and J. Craig Venter, president of The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, Md.--seeks to complete its version of the human genome by the year 2001. The yet-to-be-named company will use highly automated sequencing machines that Perkin-Elmer recently unveiled, greater computational power, and the "whole genome shotgun" sequencing strategy to blast 10 human genomes into billions of base pairs, then reassemble them, in order.

The federally sponsored Human Genome Project, will continue to plug away using a clone-by-clone approach to slowly build billions of DNA pieces...

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