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Back To Vidyya Celera Genomics Will Allow Australian Researchers To Access Genome Information

Access Is Granted For An Undisclosed Subscription Fee

Celera Genomics, a PE Corporation business, has signed an agreement with the government of Australia acting through the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), that provides a multi-year subscription to five of Celera's current databases, which includes Celera's advanced bioinformatics tools and browsers. Through this agreement the NHMRC can provide subscriptions to its publicly funded research institutions. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"We are pleased to partner with the world-renowned NHMRC and its premier research institutions within Australia," said J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., Celera's president and chief scientific officer. "By tapping into the web-based Celera Discovery System, researchers around the world can now have immediate access to Celera's growing genomic databases. This agreement is also important because it opens the doors to future research collaborations between Celera and these Australian research institutions."

"This means that Australian researchers from our major publicly-funded institutions, will be among the first in the world to work with Celera's breakthrough information technology, namely its extensive database, computing infrastructure, and advanced computer search capacities," said Dr. Warwick Anderson, Chairman of the Research Committee of the NHMRC. "This arrangement is particularly exciting for Celera's technology is believed to be of the highest standard and the agreement should allow rapid dissemination of crucial genetic information to publicly funded researchers."

"This agreement is yet further confirmation of the Australian Government's commitment and vision in investing in health and medical research through the NHMRC, which is increasingly being acknowledged as an internationally renowned leader in world health and research affairs," said Dr. Michael Wooldridge, Federal Health Minister, Australian Government.

The NHMRC's database subscription will provide access to the Celera Discovery System which includes a comprehensive set of bioinformatics systems and tools for viewing, browsing and analyzing genomic information. The NHMRC will have access to five of Celera's databases, which include proprietary information integrated with publicly available data. First, the Celera Human Gene Index provides customers with the set of human genes derived from EST sequencing programs. Second, the Drosophila Genome Database provides the complete sequence of the Drosophila melanogaster genome generated by Celera's whole genome shotgun sequencing strategy. The Drosophila Genome Database is extensively annotated with gene, protein, and biological information. Third, Celera's Human Genome Database is expected to provide the complete sequence of the human genome and the entire collection of human genes with links to associated biological and disease information. Fourth, Celera intends for its SNP Database to be the single most comprehensive source of single nucleotide polymorphisms, the major form of DNA variation responsible for human traits, certain illnesses, and variable drug safety and efficacy. This database may include SNP data from the sequencing of several individuals. Fifth, the Mouse Genome Database being generated by Celera should allow for comparative analysis with the human genome that may be especially significant for the identification of genes and gene regulatory regions of importance to understanding human biology.

Australia's NHMRC is a statutory authority established under the National Health and Medical Research Council Act of 1992. The Act sets down four statutory obligations for the NHMRC: 1) To raise the standard of individual and public health throughout Australia; 2) To foster the development of consistent health standards between the Australian States and Territories; 3) To foster medical research and training and public health research and training throughout Australia; and 4) To foster consideration of ethical issues relating to health.

As the pre-eminent national organization combining research funding and health and health ethics advice, the NHMRC draws together the sometimes conflicting views of all the components of the health system, governments, medical practitioners, nurses and allied health professionals, researchers, teaching and research institutions, public and private managers, programs managers, service administrators, community health organizations, social health researchers, and ultimately, consumers.

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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