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Economic impact of human genome sequencing

Human genome blog.JPG

In case you missed it, the Wall Street Journal posted an interesting article online yesterday about the economic impact of sequencing the human genome. The article describes a recent study by the Battelle Memorial Institute that indicates the effort was a good investment:

The $3.8 billion spent by the U.S. government to map the human genome spurred the creation of tens of thousands of jobs and gave rise to an industry that-while slow to deliver medical breakthroughs-now generates about $67 billion in annual economic activity, according to a new study

Specifically:

That $3.8 billion, along with subsequent capital provided by the government and the private sector, generated a total return of roughly $49 billion in direct and indirect federal tax revenues over the last two decades or so. (The $3.8 billion is worth about $5.6 billion in constant 2010 dollars.)

Over the same period, those initial investments also helped to drive $796 billion in direct and indirect economic output and generate $244 billion in total personal income, according to Battelle's calculations.

The article notes that such reports are prized by science-based institutions and organizations as they scramble to compete for increasingly scarce federal funds. (At a Senate hearing yesterday, NIH director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, warned that fewer than one in five grant applications are likely to be successful this year - a new low.)

Previously: Report: NIH investments created $68 billion in economic activity last year and The NIH's Francis Collins' to do list
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