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Watson Departure Vexes Genome Experts

They fear that funding support for their vast gene-mapping project could erode now that the Nobelist is leaving While the head of the nation's premier health agency may not be losing sleep over the resignation of James Watson as head of the Human Genome Project (HGP), many genetic researchers are distressed to see him go. Genome scientists interviewed for this article say it will be difficult for the National Institutes of Health, via its search committee, to find someone with the same drive

Scott Veggeberg
They fear that funding support for their vast gene-mapping project could erode now that the Nobelist is leaving
While the head of the nation's premier health agency may not be losing sleep over the resignation of James Watson as head of the Human Genome Project (HGP), many genetic researchers are distressed to see him go.

Genome scientists interviewed for this article say it will be difficult for the National Institutes of Health, via its search committee, to find someone with the same drive, vision, and scientific stature--which, they generally agree, translates into an ongoing ability to obtain high-priority funding from Congress.

Preceding the resignation was well-publicized friction between the Nobel Prize-winning Watson--noted both for his achievement in identifying the double helix structure of DNA and for his outspokenness--and NIH director Bernadine Healy.

Recently Watson lashed out at Healy over her support of NIH's pursuit of patents on partial DNA sequences,...

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