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Genome Company Reports Finding 2.4 Million Little Things That Make Individuals Unique

September 14, 2000

Celera Genomics Inc., the Maryland-based company working to map every single human gene, said Wednesday it had found 2.4 million of the little changes that make one person different from another. These differences--known as single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs--each represent a single change in the 3 billion letters that make up the human genetic code.

Earlier this month, the publicly funded Human Genome Project and the public/private SNP consortium, which includes 10 major pharmaceutical companies, announced that they had found 800,000 different SNPs (pronounced snips), and that 400,000 of those were different from those identified by Celera. That brings the total of known SNPs to 2.8 million. Scientists hope to eventually use SNPs to find out why one person develops problems such as heart disease and another does not.

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Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II.

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