Science Policy For All

Because science policy affects everyone.

Archive for February 2013

Science Policy Around the Web – February 21, 2013

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photo credit: El Bibliomata via photopin cc

photo credit: El Bibliomata via photopin cc

By: Jennifer Plank

Our biweekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.

Obama Seeking to Boost Study of Human Brain – The Obama administration is planning a project to map the activity of the human brain. To the neuroscience community, this project will be what the human genome project was to the genetics field. The project will be a collaborative effort between federal agencies, private foundations, neuroscientists, and nanoscientists. The project has the potential to uncover mechanisms of neurological disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, if the new project follows in the path of the human genome project, it is poised to stimulate the economy. (John Markoff)

Did Sperm and Egg Donors Unwittingly Contribute to NIH-Approved Stem Cells? – In 2009, the National Institutes of Health developed guidelines that all human ESCs generated using NIH funding must meet. One such requirement is that cells lines generated must be obtained from surplus embryos following fertility treatments. Additionally, the couples receiving fertility treatment must be informed of the use of embryos. However, the new directive did not include obtaining permission from sperm and egg donors. For 49 of the 198 lines, the permission from the gamete donors is questionable- either the donors did not respond for consent or the status of who the egg or sperm donor was unclear. (Jocelyn Kaiser)

Should We Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies? – Recently a group of experts faced off to debate the proposition “Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies”. The audience was polled before and after the debate. Prior to the debate 24 percent supported prohibiting genetically engineered children, 30 percent were against and 46 percent were undecided. Following the debate, 49 percent of the audience was against prohibiting genetically engineered babies. The article link includes audio and a transcript of the debate. (NPR Staff)

Have an interesting science policy link?  Share it in the comments!

Written by sciencepolicyforall

February 22, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Science Policy Around the Web – February 7, 2013

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photo credit: Tc Morgan via photopin cc

photo credit: Tc Morgan via photopin cc

By: Jennifer Plank

Our biweekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.

Federal officials allege Santa Cruz company misled animal welfare inspectors – Two animal rights organizations allege that Santa Cruz Biotechnology has repeatedly violated the animal welfare act and misled federal inspectors. These violations include not reporting the existence of 841 goats. In September, the USDA filed a complaint indicating several violations in regards to animal welfare and employing unqualified personnel. In addition, during a recent inspection, several goats were suffering from undiagnosed infections. (Jessica M. Pasko)

Girls lead in science exam, but not in the United States – A 2009 exam given to 470,000 students (15 years old) in 65 developed countries indicates that, on the global scale, girls perform better than boys in science. Interestingly, in the United States boys out perform girls with average exam scores of 509 to 495. According to Christianne Corbett, research associate at the American Association of American Women, one possible explanation for this outcome is that gender stereotypes regarding occupations begins early in life and less women are likely to go into science careers. (Hannah Fairfield and Alan McLean)

New analysis challenges study suggesting racial bias at NIH – A 2011 study indicated that black researchers face a racial bias when it comes to receiving NIH funding. In response to this report, the NIH announced a program to boost the number of young minority scientists. However, a recent study has analyzed the productivity and funding of minority and white researchers researchers at the same institutions. The study found that on average, the black researchers were less productive than their white colleagues. Additionally, when adjusted for a productivity index, black researchers received just as much funding as their white colleagues. (Jocelyn Kaiser)

Have an interesting science policy link?  Share it in the comments!

Written by sciencepolicyforall

February 7, 2013 at 1:09 pm