$74m gift from Carlos Slim to genomics center targets Latin Americans
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
The money is aimed at helping to correct a bias in genomic studies of human disease, which often analyze DNA taken from people of European descent. That approach may overlook important genetic causes of disease in non-European populations — and could one day result in people at the highest risk of a disease not getting the best treatments.
“I try to support this kind of project — that is for the interest of everyone in the world, but with some focus in Mexico and Latin America,” Slim said in an interview at the Broad. He said the largest share of his philanthropy is in Mexico and Latin America, and this contribution to a Boston-area institution is in keeping with that mission because he hopes the investment will spark progress in human health more universally.
“It’s very important, when we have public health problems like diabetes, to know the causes and try to find solutions,” Slim said. The international partnership was sparked about 4½ years ago, when Eric Lander, who heads the Broad, gave a talk at the National Institute of Genomic Medicine of Mexico and was told Slim, one of the richest people in the world, wanted to pick his brain about DNA and disease.