First Large Analysis of Human Genome Data Released
Vicki Brower

May 10, 2000; New York City (Reuters Health) -- The first large-scale computational analysis of the genes sequenced to date by the public Human Genome Project, was released on Monday to the public on the Internet by two California companies. DoubleTwist, Inc., a bioinformatics firm, and Sun Microsystems Inc., a computer company, announced that collaboratively they had turned raw data from 65,000 genes sequenced by the Human Genome Project into the first round of useable information and are making it available to the public on DoubleTwist's website ( ). The companies are working on the remaining 40,000 genes and will release that analysis as it becomes available.

"The Human Genome Project has done a tremendous job of providing the primary sequence of more than 80 percent of the genome to date. We have built upon this accomplishment by processing this data to reveal its most important information -- the genes," DoubleTwist chairman and CEO John Couch said. "Further, we are providing scientists with a mechanism to easily view and mine this information on our Web site," he added. "This will give scientists universal access to a vast biological resource via the Internet," said Steve McKay, vice president at Sun Microsystems.

DoubleTwist plans to license the database and enabling software to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as to academia for a reduced fee, to aid their drug discovery efforts. "We are not in the business of patenting genes," Couch said. "We are in the business of providing information and analytic tools for genetic research."

DoubleTwist is competing with companies like Incyte Pharmaceuticals, which also provides genomic information on a subscriber basis, and Celera Genomics, which is competing with the Human Genome Project to complete the sequence first, but is also analyzing the data and making it available to subscribers.

The Human Genome Database that the companies released on Monday contains mining, visualization, and navigational tools for scientists, Couch said in a telephone briefing. It includes gene prediction algorithms and methods to elucidate DNA and protein similarities using high-throughput processing and analysis. The database was developed using Sun Enterprise 420R and 10K supercomputers.