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Scientists have used a powerful gene-mapping technique to produce the clearest picture yet of all the genes of an animal ? the microscopic worm Caenorhabditis elegans (better known as C. elegans). Scientists believe the same technique may be used to bring the current, somewhat blurry picture of the human genome into sharper focus. The study, in Nature Genetics, describes an effort to locate and precisely identify all of the approximately 19,000 genes that have been predicted to exist in the genome of C. elegans.
An international research consortium has launched an approximately $100 million public-private effort to create the next generation map of the human genome. Called the International HapMap Project, the new venture is aimed at speeding the discovery of genes related to common illnesses such as asthma, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.