JCVI: J. Craig Venter Institute Consolidates Sequencing Center and Reduces 29 Sequencing Staff Positions
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News Alert 09-Dec-2008



J. Craig Venter Institute Consolidates Sequencing Center and Reduces 29 Sequencing Staff Positions

New, More Efficient Technologies Require Less Machines, Less Space and Fewer People to Run

ROCKVILLE, MD — December 9, 2008 — The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), a not for profit genomic research institute, today announced the consolidation of its sequencing center, the Joint Technology Center, onto its main campus, and as a result, the elimination of 29 sequencing staff jobs. J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., founder and president of the JCVI made the following statement:

"Over the last several years we at the JCVI have been advocating for and testing next generation sequencing technologies to enable more organisms to be sequenced and analyzed. Individualized genomics and the ability to sequence everyone on the planet will only happen with new, faster, less expensive technologies. Over the last five years we have seen a dramatic increase in these new technologies. We, like most other sequencing centers, have been slowly replacing older generation, Sanger sequencing technologies with newer machines. In some cases one new DNA sequencing machine can now do the work of 100 older generation 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. As a result of these technology advances, we closed our large DNA sequencing facility in Rockville, MD in October and moved the sequencing team to our main Rockville Campus, and today we have announced the elimination of 29 sequencing center jobs. We are very grateful to these dedicated staff members who helped us to complete so many important sequencing projects — from the numerous microbial and plant genomes and millions of new genes from the Sorcerer II Expedition, to the first diploid human genome.

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. 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."

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JCVI Media Contact: Heather Kowalski, hkowalski(AT)jcvi.org; 301-943-8879