The consortium is developing a map of common patterns, or haplotypes, of human genetic variation that can be used as a resource for scientists searching for genes related to health and disease. To create the HapMap, DNA was taken from blood samples collected by researchers in China, Japan, Nigeria and the United States. No medical or personal identifying information was obtained from the 270 individuals providing the samples. However, the samples are identified by the population from which they were collected.
The $130 million project, which was launched in October 2002 and is expected to be completed in September 2005, is a public-private partnership of scientists and funding agencies from Canada, China, Japan, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States. The U.S. component is led by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) on behalf of the 19 institutes, centers and offices of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that contributed funding. For more information on the International HapMap Project, see http://genome.gov/10001688.
From the outset, the consortium followed the example of the Human Genome Project and made most of its data quickly and freely available through public databases on the Internet. However, concerns existed that outside groups might be able to combine some of the HapMap data with their own data to generate patentable inventions a process referred to by some as "parasitic patenting." Such patents could potentially be used to exc
Contact: Geoff Spencer
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute