The Department of Energy’s recruit is said to signal ambitious plans in gene sequencing research

WASHINGTON—When the Department of Energy announced last month that Charles Cantor would direct its new center for the study of the human genome at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory it was making clear its intention to remain a major player in that field of study, despite NIH’s primary role.

Cantor is a world-renowned bioengineer who has done pioneering work on techniques to separate DNA fragments at Columbia University. Just this spring, the 45-year-old scientist was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, based in part on his achievement in developing a new, pulsed-gel technique to separate DNA fragments through electrophoresis. And Cantor will soon be joined at Lawrence Berkeley by key members of his Columbia team, including microbiologist Cassandra Smith.

All this signals the DOE’s determination to stay at the forefront in areas where its labs already...

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