Work is to begin next week on a project involving the US-based Stanford and Cornell universities to build a research centre on the desert border between Jordan and Israel.
The centre has secured tens of millions of dollars of funding from US philanthropists. Its first job will be to compile a comprehensive catalogue of the genomics and ecology of the Dead Sea region.
Those supporting the new initiative hope it will be a springboard for many different types of research from which surrounding nations will benefit.
Reference: Science 303, 1457 (2004)