MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The University of Minnesota Board of Regents knows that before the institution embarks on major genomics research, the university must gain the public's trust.
Genomics is a new science that studies the function of all the genes of an organism at once.
''Private companies are going to pour billions of dollars into the science and report that which suits them,'' said Regent Bob Bergland. ''The public doesn't trust major corporations. The university is not so encumbered. If there are dark corners, we go light them. But if the public doesn't believe us, we're lost.''
Professor Paul Magee is trying to map the genes of a life-threatening fungus that can cause yeast infections in women, threaten transplanted organs and kill AIDS patients.
Magee, a professor of genetics, cell biology and development, said the work is laborious and expensive, but important. The fungus kills 30 percent of the people it attacks, and no one knows why it is so deadly.
''Genomics is going to affect every aspect of our lives,'' Magee said. ''We have to educate people to understand it fully so they can thoughtfully evaluate claims and be skeptical of overstatements.''
Half a dozen speakers made the same point to the Board of Regents' educational and policy committee Thursday. The Regents made no decision on a policy.
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