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$10-million prize offered for genetic code mapping

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published October 5, 2006


WASHINGTON - The people who spurred private spaceflight with a $10-million prize are doing the same for personalized medicine.

The X Prize Foundation is offering $10-million to the first company that can process the genetic codes of 100 people in just 10 days - an advancement experts say is at least five years away.

"We need new and better technology to get down the road to individualized medicine," said genome mapping pioneer J. Craig Venter, co-chairman of the Archon X Prize scientific advisory board.

The idea is that one day doctors will be able to treat patients based on their individual genetic makeup. The big prize is an effort to jump-start the technology to quickly sequence individual gene maps.

To win the prize, a company has to map in 10 days a specific 100 diverse human genomes provided by the X Prize Foundation. Then it will be paid extra to map the genomes of 100 celebrities, scientists and multimillionaires.

The lists include talk show host Larry King, financial heavyweights Paul Allen and Michael Milken, space tourist Anousheh Ansari, space X Prize winner Burt Rutan and scientist Stephen Hawking.