BOX C
Summary of Principles of the International Strategy Meeting on Human Genome Sequencing (1996)

The following principles were endorsed by all participants. These included officers from, and scientists supported by, the Wellcome Trust, the U.K. Medical Research Council, the NIH NCHGR (National Center for Human Genome Research), the DOE (U.S. Department of Energy), the German Human Genome Programme, the European Commission, HUGO (Human Genome Organisation), and the Human Genome Project of Japan.


Primary Genomic Sequence Should Be in the Public Domain

It was agreed that all human genomic sequence information, generated by centres funded for large-scale human sequencing, should be freely available and in the public domain in order to encourage research and development and to maximise its benefit to society.


Primary Genomic Sequence Should Be Rapidly Released

- Sequence assemblies should be released as soon as possible; in some centres, assemblies of greater than 1 Kb would be released automatically on a daily basis.

- Finished annotated sequence should be submitted immediately to the public databases.


It was agreed that these principles should apply for all human genomic sequence generated by large-scale sequencing centres, funded for the public good, in order to prevent such centres establishing a privileged position in the exploitation and control of human sequence information. It was also agreed that patents should not be sought.

order to encourage research and development and to maximize its benefit to society” (see Box C). Since the sequencing phase of the publicly funded HGP began, all of the data generated by participants have been deposited in publicly available databases every 24 hours. By 2003, an essentially complete copy of the human genome sequence was posted on the Internet, with no barriers to its use, and therefore no subscription fees or other obstacles.

With the 1998 entry of Celera Genomics into the race to sequence the human genome, issues of access to the emerging data became more contentious between the public and private projects. On March 16, 2000, President Bill Clinton and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair issued a joint statement: “to realize the full promise of this research, raw fundamental data on the human genome, including the



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