Science: The Gene Hunt

Scientists launch a $3 billion project to map the chromosomes and decipher the complete instructions for making a human being

Know then thyself the glory, jest, and riddle of the world.

-- Alexander Pope

In an obscure corner of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), molecular biologist Norton Zinder strode to a 30-ft.-long oval conference table, sat down and rapped his gavel for order. A hush settled over the Human Genome Advisory Committee, an unlikely assemblage of computer experts, biologists, ethicists, industry scientists and engineers. "Today we begin," chairman Zinder declared. "We are initiating an unending study of human biology. Whatever it's going to be, it will be an adventure, a priceless endeavor. And when it's done, someone else will sit...

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