News and Events: NIH Chimps to be retired, EU science budget, and Mitochondrial DNA

Posted: July 1, 2013 in Ethics, Events, Funding, Jobs, Science

“The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today that it will retire to sanctuary nearly all of its research chimpanzees — about 310 animals — leaving a rump colony of up to 50 animals available to researchers who can clear high ethical and regulatory hurdles for using them.”

“E.U. leaders have reached a last-minute agreement on the bloc’s budget for the next 7 years, which would include €70.2 billion for its flagship research program, Horizon 2020. This is a 23% increase over the previous incarnation, known as Framework Programme 7, which started in 2007 and ends this year. Throughout months of political wrangling, research funding has been relatively protected from cuts—but the R&D budget will drop next year, before shooting up in 2015.”

“The U.K. government is moving toward allowing a new type of in vitro fertilization that would enable patients with mitochondrial diseases to avoid passing the condition to their children. The technique is controversial, because it involves introducing new DNA into a human embryo. But a public consultation earlier this year found broad support for the technique.”

“Over the past few weeks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has privately and publicly pushed his fellow lawmakers to replace cuts to basic scientific research, one of the most insidious impacts of sequestration.”

“The Voyager 1 spacecraft has almost left the Solar System — but not quite, according to a set of papers published online in Science on 27 June.”

Op-ed from Science CEO Alan Leshner regarding science funding in the US. “Hefty federal deficits in Canada and the United States pose a significant threat to fundamental, basic research as some policy-makers seem to value near-term, industry-focused science more highly. That’s short-sighted and a shame. Basic research is the seed corn for economic growth and the foundation from which we build solutions to society’s big problems.”


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