Page URL:

Celera to stop charging for genome data

29 April 2005
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 306

US firm Celera Genomics is to discontinue its subscription business, through which it charges scientists to access its genome data. The company caused controversy when it published its version of the entire human genetic code, in February 2001. In contrast to the publicly-funded human genome effort, Celera did not make its data freely available - usually a prerequisite for publication of DNA sequence information. The disagreements between the public consortium and Celera led to the publication of two different draft versions of the human genome in rival journals, Science and Nature.

The international Human Genome Project (HGP) public consortium unveiled the final version of the entire human genome on 14 April 2003. They found that it is made up of 2.9 billion base-pairs (DNA 'letters'), and contains an estimated 25,000 different genes. The HGP made its data available to researchers on a daily basis via the Internet. Access to Celera's data was free to academic researchers, but they were only allowed to download up to one million base pairs of DNA sequence per week, while commercial users had to pay to access the company's database. At its peak, Celera reportedly had about 25 companies and 200 academic institutions subscribed to its service.

But Celera announced last week that it will now stop its subscription business, whilst continuing its efforts to make new drugs. Francis Collins, head of the US HGP effort, welcomed the decision, saying it was proof that 'data just wants to be public'. He commented that few companies are still trying to sell genetic data, because it is now widely available for free.

Celera has reportedly been phasing out its subscriptions, which have not been renewed as they expired. After 1 July 2005, it will put 30 billion base-pairs of DNA sequence data from its work on the human, mouse and rat genomes into public databases. Much of it will duplicate data that is already publicly available, but it will help scientists 'double check' the information. Collins said that he gave 'a lot of credit' to Celera, adding that 'it does sort of makes the battle days of what appeared to be an unpleasant race a distant memory'.

Ex-Celera head Craig Venter said that he had been 'strongly in favour' of putting the company's genome data into the public domain, and said he felt that 'it sets a good precedent for companies who are sitting on gene and genome data sets that have little or no commercial value but would be of great benefit to the scientific community'.

Celera donates gene data it once sold
Business Week |  27 April 2005
Celera to Quit Selling Genome Information
The New York Times |  27 April 2005
Giving its DNA code away
The Baltimore Sun |  27 April 2005
22 April 2003 - by BioNews 
The final version of the entire human genome sequence was unveiled last week by the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium, more than two years ahead of schedule. Since the 'rough draft' was published in February 2001, researchers have been proof-reading the sequence, and filling in most of the gaps. A...
19 February 2001 - by BioNews 
The publication of the first draft of the human genome sequence has been clouded by the ongoing dispute over data access. The disagreements between the public consortium and biotech firm Celera Genomics led to the publication of two different versions of the genome in rival journals, Science and Nature, last...
12 February 2001 - by BioNews 
The two scientific teams who jointly announced the completion of the first draft of the entire human genetic code last June will publish their results this week. The international consortium's version will appear in Nature this Thursday, while that of US company Celera Genomics will be published in rival journal...
11 December 2000 - by BioNews 
US company Celera Genomics is to publish its version of the entire human genetic code in Science early next year, after being granted special data access arrangements by the journal. The firm will not put all its raw data into the public database GenBank, as is normally required by journals...
26 June 2000 - by BioNews 
The first 'rough draft' of the entire human genome sequence is complete, UK and US scientists announced today. The achievement is being hailed as one of the most significant scientific milestones of all time, comparable with the moon landing or the splitting of the atom. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.