Three hundred and ninety six funds have been merged or liquidated for far this year, well on track to top the 438 funds that were erased in 2008, Morningstar reports.

And the number of new funds being launched is a mere 156 so far this year, compared to the 487 funds that debuted in 2008. If the trend lines continue, 2009 could be the first year since 2002 that the total mutual fund universe decreased.

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