Although the Icelandic genomics company deCODE has filed for bankruptcy, this does not, as you put it in your News story (Nature 462, 401; 2009), leave the “fate of its valuable genetic database unclear”.

As chief executive of deCODE, I can state that its Iceland-based subsidiary Islensk Erfdagreining continues to perform all of the company's human genetics work, managing its population resources, conducting its research and services, and processing its tests and genome scans.

It is Islensk Erfdagreining's scientists and laboratories that are licensed to undertake this work. We continue to operate under the same data and privacy protections as usual, rooted in the Icelandic community and within a tried and tested regulatory environment.

Nor should scientists be “lamenting the prospect of losing deCODE's vast database of genetic and medical information”. Islensk Erfdagreining will probably be sold to another group of investors as a going concern. Such a change in ownership of the operating company will have no bearing on the terms under which Islensk Erfdagreining manages and analyses genetic samples and data.

Islensk Erfdagreining does not own these samples or the data. They are owned by the individuals who provide them and are only used for the specific purpose, whether research or testing, agreed upon with those individuals and under the regulatory protections under which we work.

These resources cannot therefore be sold and are not for sale. The genetics operation of Islensk Erfdagreining cannot be put in a box and dispatched elsewhere.