WASHINGTON DC — As the US Congress considers the structure and purview of the planned Department of Homeland Security (DHS), science societies are warning against giving the new department too much authority over biodefense research.

President George W. Bush's DHS blueprint calls for the transfer of $1.7 billion in funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), to the new department. But the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) are lobbying congressional leaders to insure that the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and DHHS retain sufficient control over funds allocated for biodefense research.

Both societies support the draft legislation recommended by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which clarifies the collaborative relationship between the DHS and DHHS and insures that the DHHS will set...

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