Syngenta, the world's largest agribusiness company, has announced that it has had hundreds of requests for access to its details of the genetic structure of rice since it completed the 430-million letter sequence in January. The company, formed after the merger of AstraZeneca and Novartis' agricultural sections, plans to make the information freely available to scientists helping subsistence farmers. Syngenta is, however, reviewing whether to make the information available to all. The first product to result from the research - rice grains with 'markers' displaying different traits - is likely to be on the market within three years.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca's share prices have been lifted by over two per cent by the presentation, in Florida, of positive trial results of Crestor, a new cholesterol-reducing drug. The drug compares favourably with a rival treatment, Lipitor, produced by Pfizer but is still expected to face stiff competition when it is launched next year.
In the UK, the Wellcome Trust, the world's largest medical charity, has forbidden the recipients of its grants from using the money to access Celera's human genome sequence.
Nature reports that the Trust wants them to use the publicly-funded data instead. Mike Dexter, director says 'we are just trying to get the best value for trust money'. Celera has said that Wellcome researchers will still have access to their data over their free site.