NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The J. Craig Venter Institute last month consolidated its sequencing operations into its main campus in Rockville, Md., and as a result, it eliminated 29 sequencing staff positions.
The not-for-profit genomic research institute shut down its large DNA sequencing facility in Rockville in October, it said in a statement, and moved its sequencing team to its main Rockville campus.
“The reduction in staff announced today is a direct result of a technology shift and is not a reflection of the tough economic times that we are all facing in the United States today,” J. Craig Venter, founder and president of JCVI, said in the statement. “JCVI has been awarded in excess of $13 million in competitive grants and contracts in 2008 alone and does not anticipate any additional staff reductions.”
He noted that JCVI, like other sequencing centers, has been replacing its older Sanger sequencing technologies with the latest-generation of DNA sequencing machines. “While technological advances bring breakthroughs to many aspects of science, unfortunately they also come at a cost, which is that fewer people are needed to run the large facilities and many machines that were once needed,” said Venter.
A JCVI spokesperson said that the institute has no plans to open any new large-scale sequencing centers.