By: Tara Burke
Photocredit: Chase Dekker via Photopin cc
Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.
Panel Says Global Warming Carries Risk of Deep Changes – On Tuesday, a panel appointed by the National Research Council warned that continued global warming poses the risk of drastic changes to the environment. The deep environmental changes of concern include potential mass extinction of plant and animal life, possible collapse of polar sea ice as well as the threat of dead zones in the ocean. However, the panel ruled out the possibility of most worst-case fears perpetuated by Hollywood and popular imagination such as a sudden release of methane from the ocean that would fry the planet. The panel recommends the creation of an early warning system capable of alerting society before such changes create irreversible chaos. (Justin Gills)
United States Should End Gene Therapy Review Panel, Study Says – A panel commissioned by the Institute of Medicine at the U.S. National Academies recommended that the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) be phased out. The RAC was created in 1974 to vet clinical trials of gene therapy for novel risks. The report issued Thursday says, in most cases, gene therapy does not need this extra regulation anymore as concerns about common gene therapy methods no longer exist and the public perception of such treatment has transitioned from negative to positive. Panelists suggest that the RAC should be replaced by a RAC-like body with a larger breadth that reviews all risky clinical research that may not be sufficiently reviewed by supporting agencies. (Eliot Marshall)
NASA funding shuffle alarms planetary scientists – On December 3rd, NASA’s planetary science division announced restricting of its funding of various research and analysis programs. This jarred planetary scientists who already feel slighted in the ever-shrinking world of science research funding and who rely on this division for a majority of their funding. Even more worrisome is the newly-formed Solar System workings research program which will not be taking funding proposals until 2015…long after many of currently-funded planetary scientists run out of their current monies. Early-career planetary scientists are especially fearful of these new funding woes and are concerned they may be forced to change careers. (Alexandra Witze)
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