1982 The Human Polymorphism Study Center, the first academic institution to propose the systematic study of polymorphisms, is founded in Paris. Its primary objective: to make an inventory of all possible polymorphisms in the human population and associate them with diseases. However, the technology to take on such a project would not be advanced enough for more than a decade.

1995 An initiative led by the Wellcome Trust, of Cambridge, England, to form a consortium of pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, and nonprofit research centers to sequence the genomes of 50 microorganisms most responsible for disease falls through. This results in redundant efforts in sequencing microorganisms--and plants the seeds for future cooperation.

1996 Technology and mathematics indicate mapping SNPs might be feasible and that the resulting data will be useful.

1997 In a March workshop, advisers to the National Human Genome Research Institute propose that building a catalog of SNPs over...

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