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HUGO Says Human Genome Sequence Will Be Finished by 2003

NEW YORK, April 15 - Scientists working to finish the human genome sequence said they expect to tie up their efforts and publish their research sometime next year.

"It will be completed in 2003," Lap-Chee Tsui, president of the Human Genome Organization, said at the start of a genomics meeting in China over the weekend. "Everybody is trying very hard to meet that deadline."

Tsui said the finished sequence would be available publicly.

"It is quite clear that Celera will not be doing any more sequencing and (for) the public project of course, by definition, we are going to release it to the public,'' Tsui told Reuters, which originally reported on the HUGO announcement from Shanghai.

Celera did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.


Separately, China's Xinhua news agency said that China will "expand its cooperation on the human genome research program" with other countries. The news service reported that Chen Zhu, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a "prominent expert" in China's genome research program, said that international cooperation "would help bridge the gap between developing and developed nations."

Chen, who also spoke at the Shanghai genomics meeting, stressed that China "would not allow any foreign institution to purchase genetic materials from China," and said that scientists and research institutions from overseas "must obtain permission according to the country's related regulations and abide by scientific ethics, including informing the Chinese citizens involved when collecting genetic materials."

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