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Harvard rules out genes business

Harvard University has decided not to invest in a company to market recombinant DNA (genetic engineering) discoveries spawned in its hallowed halls, because the risk of compromising the university's academic integrity is too great, Monitor correspondent Timothy Aeppel reports. But it has left the door open to future involvement in the profit-oreitned development of discoveries made in the university, including the controversial gene-juggling technology.

Some professors, however, maintian that the problems with a university's going into amy competitive business can never be reconciled.

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"The conflicts are insurmountable," says a Harvard professor of biochemistry, Walter Gilbert, who also heads an independent company involved in Marketing DNA technology. He says professors may be forced to compete for commercial success, rather than academic achievement.

"It's probably bad business as well, but even good business couldn't excuse it," he says.