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February 10, 2003 | In 1985, the Swedes started a database built around the town of Västerbotten, one of the last areas of Europe to be settled. That was the first database to combine human blood, genealogical data, and DNA — and specific populations linked by geographic destiny. The most recent databases of this type were announced last year in Wisconsin and the United Kingdom; they are already raising hopes for more targeted medicines, as well as concerns about privacy.

City: Marshfield, Wisconsin, United States Sponsor name: Marshfield Clinic People in database: 40,000 (projected)  Year started: 2002 Key scientist: Michael Caldwell  Nation: Iceland Company name: deCODE Genetics People in database: 80,000 Year started: 1996 Key scientist: Kari Stefansson Partners: Roche, Merck  Nation: Estonia Company name: EGeen People in database: 1,000,000 (projected) Year started: 2001 Key scientist: Andres Metspalu Partner: Prediction Sciences  Province: Newfoundland, Canada Company name: Newfound Genomics Year started: 2000 Key scientist: Proton Rahman Partner: Sequenom  Island: Kosrae, Micronesia People in database: 2,500 Year started: 2001 Key scientist: Jeff Friedman Key partner: Department of Health, Kosrae Key disease investigated: Obesity  Nation: Tonga, Polynesia Company name: Autogen People in database: 44,000 Year started: 1996 Key scientist: Greg Collier  Partners: Merck-Lipha  Nation: Tristan da Cunha (in the South Atlantic) Affiliated company: Celera Genomics People in database: 282 Year started: 1996 Key scientist: Noe Zamel Key disease investigated: Asthma  Province: Quebec, Canada Company name: Galileo Genomics Year started: 1999 Key scientist: John Hooper Partner: Myriad Genetics  Nation: Sweden Company name: UmanGenomics People in database: 70,000 Year started:1985 Key scientist: Wayne Davies  Nation: United Kingdom Project name: Biobank UK People in database: 500,000 (projected) Year started: 2002 Key scientist: Frances Rawle Key backer: British government Key partner: Wellcome Trust  Budget: $65 million  


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For reprints and/or copyright permission, please contact  Jay Mulhern, (781) 972-1359, jmulhern@healthtech.com.