US$800 Billion in Economic Benefits from Human Genome Project Questioned

in medicine, biology, omics

According to an article in Nature the high-profile claim that the Human Genome Project and associated research generated almost US$800 billion in economic benefits has been questioned by economists.

The estimate comes from the Battelle Memorial Institute, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. A team of researchers used an 'input–output' economic model to calculate a 141-fold return on each dollar invested in the Human Genome Project. The team's report concludes that a $3.8-billion federal investment (equivalent to $5.6 billion in 2010 dollars) produced $796 billion in economic output between 1988 and 2010 and, in 2010 alone, supported 310,000 jobs.

Critics of the report say that the methods used to calculate these numbers, despite being common practice in such studies, are flawed. For example, some of the costs of the project — such as the salaries of those working on it — are counted as benefits.

The original article can be read at Nature.com

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