Human code fully cracked
Fifty years after the discovery of the structure of DNA, scientists from six countries today announce another landmark: they have sequenced the entire genetic code of a human being to an accuracy of 99.999 per cent. Almost three years ago an international consortium funded by charities and governments, and a US private venture, simultaneously announced the completion of the "first draft" of the human genome. Scientists at the Wellcome Trust medical charity's Sanger Institute in Cambridge, the British partner in the project, completed almost a third of the work, at a cost of £150 million. The other laboratories involved are in the US, France, Germany, China and Japan.
Breakthrough in search for asthma vaccine
The first asthma vaccine has been successfully tested on people whose attacks are triggered by an allergy to cats. Researchers at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College, London, believe the results pave the way for a long-lasting vaccine. A short course of injections could give protection for at least four years.
New test for BSE in sheep
The scientist who won a Nobel prize for his work on identifying the cause of BSE-like brain diseases has developed a test that will be used by the government to see if sheep have been infected by "mad cow" disease. Professor Stanley Prusiner of the University of California, San Francisco, said the test was 100 per cent accurate and could identify animals with BSE long before they showed the first symptoms of disease.