SNP CENTRAL: A genetics researcher takes to the bench at the Wellcome Trust's Sanger Centre in Cambridge, England. The sequencing center and its London sponsor provided key leadership in the SNP Consortium, a public-private venture to find and map 300,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms. The Wellcome Trust helped entice 10 pharmaceutical firms to join the consortium by putting up $14 million of the project's estimated $45 million price tag. The Sanger Centre will provide much of the radiation hybrid mapping, which will help define the role of these common genetic variations.
This past April, 10 rival companies entered an agreement that stands to garner little direct or immediate profit for any of them. Why the apparent altruism? They had a choice: Either team up with their competitors and contribute a few million dollars for research that could benefit all involved, or go it alone and spend tens of millions slowly accumulating...

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