J. Craig Venter, one of the original competitors in the race to sequence the human genome, has sequenced and published his own DNA, the first time a single individual's genome has been sequenced.
In the New York Times, Nicholas Wade does a good job with the story, focusing on the original race between the academic consortium and Venter's then-company, Celera. The academic consortium won that race, and the first draft copy of the human genome sequence was public domain -- not privately owned, as Celera's version would have been. Venter left Celera and started a new institute (named for himself) and set out to sequence a single individual's DNA (his own). His success today is being portayed as a Return of the Jedi moment, with Venter in the hero's role. But to me, today's news is a big win for Venter, but an even bigger victory for public science.
Consider: Venter published the DNA sequence itself free, to the public, with no restrictions on its use. It's been deposited in the free, public DNA database at the government-funded National Center for Biotechnology Information, part of the NIH. He's going to publish, for free, his own medical records for researchers to compare his genetics and his health. And the paper itself was published in Public Library of Science (PLoS), an upstart journal begun a few years ago with the aim of overturning the subscription-only stranglehold of the Elsevier publishing empire, and hoping to become an Open Access journal of the same caliber as the subscription-only Science, Nature, and Cell.
As a result, you own his genome. You can read the original paper, free, the day it is published (today). If you're not in the field, you can read an editor's summary, written just for you, also free. There's a free interactive poster (PDF) for you to play with, and you can even access the raw data of the original shotgun sequencing reads, if you ever wanted to.
Venter gets the last word, but ultimately it's public science over privatized science that has won out. What's a real shame is that he had to raise money for this privately, because the NIH pocketbook is too tight to fund even a project of such monumental importance (and there were other issues too). Good for Venter for giving back to the public more than he was given.