Genetics pioneer to step down from federal research institute

For the past 15 years Dr. Francis Collins has been a leader of the genetics revolution in the U.S. As head of the National Human Genome Research Institute since 1993, he helped guide the Human Genome Project and fostered an outpouring of new research into the way that genetics influences disease. Last week he announced that he would be stepping down from the post, just days after President Bush signed new legislation into law that forbids insurers and employers from using genetic information to guide coverage decisions.

Collins plans to pen a new book on the impact personal genomics will play in medicine in the years to come, following a book he published two years ago chronicling his life as a leading scientist and born-again Christian. Collins conceded that budgetary constrictions have been troublesome, but said his decision to leave was not prompted by any disagreements over policy or planning. Alan E. Guttmacher, deputy director, will take the helm until a permanent replacement is found.

- read the story from the Washington Post