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Oregon Legislature Approves $9M for Marine Genomics Center

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Oregon State legislature has approved a bill giving $9 million to fund construction of an Oregon State University institute that would study marine genomics and marine mammals.

The Marine Mammal Institute and Marine Genomics Program will be housed in a new 42,000-square-foot facility at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

The bill, which passed the Oregon House and Senate with overwhelming support late last week, has not yet been signed by Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski.

According to the bill, the two marine centers are up for a $16 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and OSU hopes to receive the funding in the next round of NIST grants. The funding from the state will be contingent on the winning of the NIST grant.

The Marine Genomics Program will conduct research on whales, seals, marine mammal genetics, fish biology and habits, and oceanographic conditions that relate to fishery productivity.

The Marine Mammal Institute will conduct cross-disciplinary studies, involving genetics, agriculture, veterinary medicine, biology, aquatics, and agriculture.

OSU originally applied for the NIST funding in 2007 through a competitive grant program aimed at supporting construction of academic research facilities

The state money will come from three sources: $4 million will be transferred from the Strand Agriculture Hall deferred maintenance project; $4 million will be transferred from a biofuels demonstration project at OSU; and $1 million will come from an unused bond authority that was originally approved for a children and families center at OSU.

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