Racing To Map Our DNA

Competition from private labs has forced the Human Genome Project into a frantic rush to finish first

When the Human Genome Project was launched a little under a decade ago, boosters compared it with the Manhattan Project or the mission to put men on the moon: an effort so complex and so broad in scope that only the government had the financial and bureaucratic resources to pull it off--yet with such huge potential payoffs that virtually no resources should be spared.

By the time the project was complete, promised its advocates, science would at last have access to the "book of life"--the precise biochemical code for each of the 100,000 or so genes that largely determine every physical...

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