A workshop on intellectual property in genome mapping projects, funded by the Commission of the European Communities, was held in Munich on 20-22 November 1992. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the impact of intellectual property considerations on genome mapping. Discussion was not restricted to the human genome: programmes for mapping other genomes -especially those relating to species of economic importance - also raise intellectual property issues. The stimulus for meeting was the applications, from the US National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Medical Research Council (MRC), for patents covering fragmentary DNA sequences. These claims over raw data had raised concerns regarding the potential conflicts between such claims and the unrestricted sharing of basic information essential for the rapid progress of genome mapping.