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Celera Submits Human Genome to Science; Data to Be Freely Available Over Web

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Celera Genomics said Wednesday that it had submitted its manuscript on the human genome to Science. The company will make its data publicly available for free over its website, the journal said in a statement.

The paper is now undergoing scientific peer review. Celera expects the paper to be published in the first quarter of 2001.

Celera said it is in talks with the International Public Human Sequencing Consortium to coordinate simultaneous publication.

Science released a statement in response to inquiries about how Celera will make the full sequence available to scientists and the general public.

The journal said that its agreement with Celera follows Science’s policy that when a paper is published, archival data relevant to its results or methods must be deposited in a publicly accessible database.

“The arrangement fulfills the spirit as well as the letter of our policy, which pertains to access and not to subsequent restrictions on commercial development,” said the Science statement.

In a departure from its normal procedures, Science will keep a copy of the database in escrow, to insure that the public will always be able to access all of the data.

Academic users may access it, do searches, download segments up to one megabase, publish their results, and seek intellectual property protection. Longer downloads, up to and including the whole genome, are allowed but require a more formal agreement not to redistribute the data. There are no reach-through provisions or restrictions on publication of researchers’ results.

Commercial users may access the data freely as long as they agree to not commercialize their results or redistribute the sequence. Or they can pay for a license or a subscription.

The agreement will enable any scientist to examine and work with Celera’s sequence in order to verify the conclusions of the paper, perform their own basic research, and publish the results.

Science said that while publication of sequence data has usually been done in GenBank or one of the other centers of the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration, the journal has never specified a particular database.

The journal’s statement cited a Nature editorial from March 23 to support the concept that sequence doesn’t have to be put into a publicly funded database but rather into one that will be accessible over the long term to the scientific community.

Richard Mural, senior staff scientist at Celera, previously said that he was organizing three human genome annotation jamborees that will be held at Celera starting in January.

Unlike Celera’s Drosophila annotation jamboree, the human annotation effort will take place after the paper is submitted to Science. The paper Celera submitted is based mostly on an automated annotation.

Mural said Celera would pay scientists to annotate the human genome.

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