The rapid accumulation of data and information resulting from the HGP and its many spin-off projects is beginning to show movement toward clinical applications in the fields of diagnostics, therapeutics, and personalized medicine. Since the 1970s, the commercial potential of this information has been the driving force behind the growth and development of the biotechnology industry and realignment in the pharmaceutical sector. Because much of the intellectual capital in this area has resided in academic research institutions, the relationships among universities, government, and the private sector also have changed. Although these relationships have been highly beneficial, they also have generated debates about the relative roles of government and industry in supporting and promoting science, particularly with regard to open access to information and the sharing of research resources. Also at issue is what can or should be patented and whether there is an obligation to the public health to ensure that clinical and research access to valuable discoveries is not unduly restricted.

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