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Md. firm now to complete human genome in June


Celera Genomics, the Rockville company competing with the public Human Genome Project to decipher the human genetic code, said yesterday that it expects to announce the assembly of its version of the human genome in June.

That is later than J. Craig Venter, Celera president and chief scientific officer, told members of a congressional committee meeting in early April. At the time, he said the company had finished the sequencing phase of its effort and would complete the assembly phase within three to six weeks.

That suggested a self-imposed deadline of mid-May for the completion of Celera's human genome -- about a month ahead of the expected public Human Genome Project's date for finishing its "working draft" of the human genetic code.

However, in a news release, the company said it was progressing on schedule" but noted that it "expects to announce the completion of assembly and validation phases of the human genome in June." No explanation was given for the apparent disparity in the dates.

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