LONDON Anyone anticipating an announcement that the UK is soon to follow Iceland, Estonia and Tonga by searching the population's gene pool to crack health problems will have to wait a little longer. The UK Biomedical Population Collection has been in gestation for two years so far and it's likely to be at least another 12 months before the full protocol is ready to be unleashed on Britons.

Speaking this week at a briefing for journalists, however, Martin Bobrow, professor of medical genetics at the University of Cambridge and a member of the scheme's Working Group, gave some indications of what shape the project will take and the issues that still need to be addressed before it is given the green light.

The project is a collaboration between the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Department of Health. The aim is to map the genes...

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