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UPDATE: University of California Subscribes to Celera Database

This article has been updated from a previous version.

NEW YORK, Jan 29 – Celera Genomics has signed on the University of California system as a subscriber to its genome database, the company announced Monday.

The deal will provide access to Celera’s database products for researchers at all ten campuses of the UC system, as well as the three UC-managed US Department of Energy national laboratories: the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory .

The cost of the multi-year subscription was not disclosed, but Celera generally charges academic subscribers between $7,000 and $15,000 per scientist using the database.

" Celera's genome databases should ensure that our researchers have the best tools to forge the frontiers of comparative genetics, evolution, biochemistry and medicine as well as to educate the future scientific leaders in these disciplines," said UC Provost Judson King in a statement.

UC researchers will access Celera’s data through its Celera Discovery System, a web-based interface that includes software tools for searching and analyzing Celera’s proprietary databases.

While UC researchers have yet to gauge the quality of the datasets or bioinformatics tools for themselves, some expressed trepidation at agreeing to pay for the information. “I’m a little queasy about participating in this kind of research model, where you have to pay companies for research data,” said Michael Eisen, a microarray and bioinformatics researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

Eisen said researchers hadn’t necessarily lobbied for access to Celera’s data, but had “complained that there’s all this data that’s been collected but not accessible because it’s too expensive.”

Celera’s completed mouse genome sequence data may offer the most immediate advantage to some UC researchers, Eisen said, because the public project to sequence mouse DNA will take at least another year.

This subscription adds to Celera's list of 30 other subscribers, including academic institutions, research collaborations, and pharmaceutical companies. 

Other known academic subscribers include the California Institute of Technology, the Australian Government, Harvard University, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, the Karolinska Institutet, Ohio State University, The Institute for Genome Research, The University of Cincinnati, The University of Texas - Southwestern, the University of Tokyo, Vanderbilt University, and the Weizmann Institute of Science.