Back in the heyday of the Human Genome Project, a lot of people questioned the rationale for the public sector continuing to sequence the genome when a private company, Celera, had stepped up to do the same thing. Was this apparent redundancy, they asked, really a worthwhile use of taxpayers’ money?

The merit of having both sequences has proven itself, even to most detractors, in the intervening years. But you’ve got to admit that at the time the issue came up, it was a good question.

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