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Human Genome Work Reaches Milestone

4:38pm, January 17, 2003

It's official. Biology's hottest race has been declared an amicable tie, even though one competitor has a clear lead and neither has actually reached the finish line or knows exactly what the prize contains.

In an accomplishment being compared to landing a man on the moon, rival groups of scientists from the private and public sectors announced on June 23 that each has read essentially all of the 3 billion or so letters that spell out the human genome, the genetic information encoded within the 6 feet of DNA coiled up in every human cell.

"Today, we celebrate the revelation of the first draft of the human book of life," said Francis Collins of the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, Md., at a White House celebration.

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