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African American DNA Research Forum

Sorenson DNA Database

By George Anders
The Wall Street Journal

James LeVoy Sorenson loved his 1999 trip to Norway retracing the steps of distant ancestors. When he got home, he invited geneticist Scott Woodward to his office and told him, "Let's analyze all of Norway's DNA!"

The scientist gulped. Both men recall that Woodward stared across a conference table and declared, "That would cost $500 million. I don't think you can afford it."

Sorenson shot back, "Oh, yes I can."

The 83-year-old Salt Lake resident and entrepreneur is a billionaire several times over thanks to his development of plastic catheters and heart-monitoring equipment plus a half-century of wise investments. Sorenson ended up dropping the Norway idea, but he did so to pursue an even greater ambition. He wants to dominate the fast-growing field of connecting people with their roots through genetic testing.

Sorenson scientists are popping up everywhere from California to Cameroon to build a database of human DNA. So far, they have persuaded 50,000 people from nearly 100 ethnic groups to hand over DNA samples and family lineages. (Full story, see link below . . . )

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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