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Duke Genome Institute at Hazard

UPDATE: The rumors of the Genome Institute's demise have now been confirmed. Please see the up-to-minute story at Bio-IT World for details.

November 27, 2013 | According to Duke Check, the well-established blog known for investigative coverage of internal Duke University matters, the Duke Genome Institute is in peril after a ten-year administrative review. Although Duke Check has not named its sources, the blog confidently claims that the Duke "Administration has decided to dismantle one of the University's most heralded interdisciplinary initiatives, the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, at the end of the academic year."

The Genome Institute is one of the foremost American academic centers for research into both genomic science, and the social changes and political policies that surround genomic technology. Luminaries at the Institute include Huntington Willard, the Institute's director, who discovered the XIST gene responsible for X chromosome inactivation; Misha Angrist, a noted author and advocate of free access to one's personal genetic information; David Goldstein, Bob Cook-Deegan, and many others. The Institute is also a regular magnet for high-profile grants, amounting to some $250 million over its eleven-year lifespan.

Sources inside Duke, without confirming the decision, stressed to Bio-IT World that if the Genome Institute were to be dissolved it would likely be a structural change. Its members could remain at Duke University in departmental roles.

Still, for an institution that prides itself on cross-disciplinary initiatives in cutting-edge fields, the dispersal of the Genome Institute into far-flung departments would represent a major step backward for research into this revolutionary scientific and social field. Duke Check 

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