In the paper published in the journal Nature, the public-private consortium also outlined its policies for the rapid release of HapMap data to researchers around the world. Some of the data are being released quickly and publicly with no conditions, while some data can be accessed quickly by researchers who agree not to restrict the use of the data by other researchers, and to share the data only with those who have agreed to the same conditions.
The $120 million International HapMap Project was launched in October 2002 and is expected to take three years to complete. The project is a partnership of scientists and funding agencies from Canada, China, Japan, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States. The U.S. component of the International HapMap Project is led by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The goal of the consortium is to develop a public resource - a map of the common patterns of human genetic variations, or haplotypes - that will help researchers find genes associated with human disease and response to medicines. In addition to the current paper detailing the project's scientific strategy, the consortium plans to publish a companion paper describing in more detail how the project is addressing the ethical, social and cultural concerns raised by this type of genomics research.
For more information and progress updates on the International HapMap Project, go to the project's Web site at http://www.
For more information or to arrange interviews with scientists regarding the International HapMap Project, contact:
Beijing Genomics Institute
RIKEN and University of Tokyo
University of Ibadan
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
National Human Genome Research Institute