Mexican President Vicente Fox on July 19 approved the construction of the 2.4-billion peso (USD $196 million) National Institute of Genomic Medicine (INMEGEN) in Mexico City, which is expected to open its first units later this year.

"We now join the nations using science and high technology to protect their population's health," Fox said in a statement. "We cannot afford the luxury of not joining this knowledge revolution because the health and well being of future generations is at stake."

Unique to Latin America, INMEGEN will focus on research programs devoted to the health problems of the Mexican population. Initial research will focus on metabolic diseases (diabetes and obesity), infectious and cardiovascular diseases, cancer, pharmacogenomics, and population genomics. It will be the 11th Mexican national health institute.

INMEGEN director Gerardo Jimenez-Sanchez, currently a visiting biomedical scientist at Johns Hopkins University, told The Scientist that in initial studies, it was clear...

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