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Leading Scientists Pledge Global Bird Flu Database

Seventy of the world's leading scientists have agreed to create a global database to share genetic data from bird flu cases.

The scientists, including six Nobel laureates, signed a letter published Thursday in the scientific journal Nature announcing the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data.

The scientists promised to share all data from their individual research, then jointly analyze and publish their results.

The report in Nature says many scientists and research organizations hoard data so they can be the first to publish in scientific journals.

The lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed at least 135 people in Asia, Africa and Europe since 2003. Health experts fear it will mutate into a form that can be easily passed through human-to-human contact.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.