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US stem cell rules clarified

A year after Bush ruling, scientists quietly work around ban by keeping research dollars strictly separate

Peg Brickley(pegbrickley@hotmail.com)

On the one-year anniversary of a ban on using federal dollars in work involving human embryonic stem cell lines, U.S. scientists are still tiptoeing around the issue of stem cell research, even as it appears they have won a key concession on university funding policy from the Bush Administration.

Simple bookkeeping will keep academic researchers from running afoul of a ban on using federal dollars in work involving human embryonic stem cells lines created after August 9, 2001, according to a March 29, 2002 posting on the National Institutes of Health web site. The posting, a question-and-answer session, was first reported in April by Science.

As attorneys had read last year's policy, should government money touch human embryonic stem cell research involving post-Aug. 9 lines, all of the federal funding to that institution could be endangered. In the absence of guidance — and, until the appointment of Elias Zerhouni...

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