With the genomics sector increasingly under a microscope, even minor developments can get blown out of proportion, and it becomes harder to draw the line between straight science and maneuvering to get a political or competitive advantage.

Thus a request for bids on a sequencing contract made by The SNP Consortium, an industry-academic partnership to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms for public use, has been portrayed as a potential maneuver in the race down the home stretch for fame, credit and profit over the sequencing of the human genome.