Human Genome Project leader steps down

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 16, 2008

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Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, announced last month his intention to leave his position Aug. 1 to pursue writing projects and other opportunities.

In the 15 years Dr. Collins headed the institute, he led the Human Genome Project to its conclusion and stewarded follow-up efforts such as the Encyclopedia of DNA elements and the Cancer Genome Atlas. He also worked to ensure that data were quickly and freely available.

"Many challenges lie ahead as genomics increasingly becomes a leading force in medicine, and I leave my position supremely confident that NHGRI and [the National Institutes of Health] will continue to achieve notable success in meeting them," Dr. Collins said.

The 58-year-old physician-geneticist also has been an ardent advocate in dealing with the ethical, legal and social implications of genetic research and played a significant role in the passage of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which became law last month.

Alan E. Guttmacher, MD, the organization's deputy director, has been named acting director.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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