Ari Patrinos on Data Release in the HGP
  Ari Patrinos     Biography    
Recorded: 03 Mar 2006

I’m quite aware of this because I was very much a party of the very, very intense and delicate negotiations about the data release issue. Even though I applaud what we did in the public program through the Bermuda Accord releasing all the data within twenty-four hours, I didn’t necessarily see what Craig was offering, you know, on his side that much different. I think many in the public program had tried to vilify his proposal as being, you know, very profit driven, you know. I didn’t see it that way. He was trying to find some reasonable middle ground. I think what we did in the public sector was commendable. You know, the truth of the matter is, however, very few people actually could use those data as soon as they were released. So it was more of the symbolism of this matter. So when you finally came down to the actual nitty-gritty of the facts, they weren’t very, very many different—many significant differences between what Celera proposed and what we did. But there was so much emotion at the time that a lot of those differences were made much more stark than they really were.

Well, ultimately what Celera did in the agreement it had with Science magazine that you could actually access those data. I forget now the details, specific details about how many downloads you could have over what period of time and so on. I remember speaking with many scientists, some that we funded and some funded by other agencies like the NIH and tried to probe about whether they had experienced any real difficulties getting their hands on the Celera data and they said no. They eventually could have those data on the timescale that they needed, when all the emotions and people were fairly candid about the facts, that’s what I was told.

Ari Patrinos, currently is a president of Synthetic Genomics, Inc. He is best known for his leading roles in the development of the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the U.S. Human Genome Project. He earned his undergraduate degree from the National Technical University of Athens and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and astronautical sciences from Northwestern University.

Patrinos has worked in Department of Energy (DOE) Laboratory system since 1973. His research area includes biomedical engineering, atmospheric turbulence, environmental chemistry, climate change, and statistical methods. In 1995 he became the Associate Director for Biological and Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science and was responsible for human and microbial genome programs, structural biology, nuclear medicine and health effects, global environmental change. He helped create the DOE's Joint Genome Institute (JGI) in 1997 and developed the DOE's Genomes to Life Program.

He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Geophysical Union, and a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.