By Kim Coghill

Washington Editor

The SNP Consortium contracted the Celera Genomics Group and Applied Biosystems Group to provide it with data for a genome-wide SNP-based linkage map for genetic analysis.

The map will consist of 2,000 SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) selected from the consortium¿s database that will be validated by Celera using Applied Biosystems¿ TaqMan reagent system, which detects specific sequences. Celera, of Rockville, Md., and Applied Biosystems, of Foster City, Calif., are part of Applera Corp., of Norwalk, Conn.

Celera¿s SNP reference database contains more than 3 million SNPs mapped in the genome to base-pair resolution, according to a statement released by the company.

Northbrook, Ill.-based Motorola Life Sciences, a business unit of Motorola Inc., also signed a collaborative agreement with the consortium to provide genotyping services for the same project.

None of the companies would discuss financial details, but Mary Prescott, spokeswoman for the SNP Consortium, based in Deerfield, Ill., said the companies would be paid based on the milestone of completing the map, which is expected by the end of the year. She further stated that the agreements are project-oriented, not long-term collaborations.

The Laboratory of Computational Genetics in the Department of Genetics at Rutgers University in New Jersey has been selected by the consortium to analyze the data.

The consortium was founded in April 1999 with the goal of identifying up to 300,000 SNPs and mapping at least 150,000 for additional study. But because of technology and the availability of the human genome data, the consortium exceed the goal and identified more than 1.5 million SNPs. (See BioWorld Today, April 16, 1999.)

Members of the consortium are the Wellcome Trust and a number of pharmaceutical companies: AstraZeneca plc, of London; Aventis Pharma, of Frankfurt, Germany; Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany; Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York; F. Hoffmann-La Roche, of Basel, Switzerland; GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., of East Hanover, N.J.; Pfizer Inc., of New York; and Searle & Co. (now part of Pharmacia Corp., of Peapack, N.J.). Other members are Motorola Inc.; IBM, of Armonk, N.Y.; and Amersham Pharmacia Biotech, of Sweden. Academic centers are the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, of Cambridge, Mass.; Washington University School of Medicine, of St. Louis; the Wellcome Trust¿s Sanger Centre, of Cambridge, UK; Stanford Human Genome Center, of Stanford, Calif.; and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, of Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. Orchid BioSciences, of Princeton, N.J., performs third-party validation and quality control testing on SNPs identified through the consortium¿s research.