Scientists report creating genetic blueprint of fruit fly

`An exciting day,' Celera president says

March 24, 2000|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

Scientists at PE Corp.-Celera Genomics Group and the University of California said yesterday that they have created the first genetic blueprint of the fruit fly, an achievement expected to pave the way for completion of a blueprint of human DNA, perhaps by the summer.

Celera said it will make the fruit fly information available for free to gene researchers through its Web site and GenBank, a public database of gene information. The Rockville-based company said the breakthrough validates its method of searching for new genes. From a scientific viewpoint, the fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is considered one of the most important lab tools for uncovering how genes influence the structure and behavior of organisms, including humans. J. Craig Venter, Celera's president and co-founder, said, "This is an exciting day for Celera. -- This bodes well for our ability to assemble the human genome."

The company plans to release into public databases its raw gene sequences of the entire human genome when complete. But it is selling access to more detailed information, such as variations in genes, to pharmaceutical companies.

The fruit fly research is being published in the March 24 edition of Science.

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