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High Dollar Donations for Genomics

Research programs focused on genomic medicine are becoming the darlings of deep-pocketed donors looking to advance understanding human diseases and developing new treatments for them, Kristina Strain of Inside Philanthropy writes.

For such funders, genomics is a smart investment as its two driving goals are to dig into the genetic and molecular basis of many of the diseases and disorders that plague humanity and then to use this newfound genomic knowledge to develop treatments that target disease precisely and are tailored for individuals.

Inside Philanthropy points out several massive recent financial injections into genomics spread across the US:

Philanthropist Ernest Rady gave the Rady Children's Hospital $120 million for a new pediatric genomic center that will investigate the genetic causes of specific rare birth defects that can hinder or even cut short children's lives.

Ted Stanley last month gave $650 million to the Broad Institute for genomics research into mental health and psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The "subprime credit card king" and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has pumped $125 million to Sanford Health to establish Sanford Imagenetics, which seeks to integrate genomic medicine into adult primary care and to train medical practitioners and researchers how to use these techniques and tools.

And the Helmsley Charitable Trust also has given the Salk Institute $42 million to found a new center for genomic medicine, Strain says, noting that the foundation has taken a "pet interest" in genomic medicine and is increasingly investing more into research focused on the genetic basis of IBD.

The Scan

Guidelines for Ancient DNA Work

More than two dozen researchers have developed new ethical guidelines for conducting ancient DNA research, which they present in Nature.

And Cleared

A UK regulator has cleared former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, according to the Financial Times.

Suit Over Allegations

The Boston Globe reports that David Sabatini, who was placed on leave from MIT after allegations of sexual harassment, is suing his accuser, the Whitehead Institute, and the institute's director.

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

In Nature this week: genetic and environmental influences of esophageal cancer, domestic horse origin traced to Western Eurasian steppes, and more.