So well-positioned is Rubin, what with all that sequencing equipment up on the hills where the eucalyptus grow 100 feet high, that once the fruit fly genome is finished -- whether this year or 2001 -- he will become an even larger force in his field. To date, Rubin's fruit fly data has proven so accurate that he's been called upon to review the work of the HGP itself.
And, once the HGP is finished, NIH might want to start looking at mice, zebra fish, or other organisms, as well as studies of human genetic variations.
Venter may well crash and burn. But Rubin will survive his pact with the enemy. Such are the strange alliances that come and go in the Byzantine politics of academic research.
"There's a role for us," Rubin says, adding that he expects to win his share of future NIH contracts. And through his brown beard he smiles, a competitor who knows he'll never lose.