Like parents irritated that their children aren't sharing expensive toys in a sandbox, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is encouraging scientists to be more openhanded with mouse resources they create with public funds. A draft policy that popped up on the NIH's Web site last week stops short of requiring NIH-funded researchers to share mouse strains with others, but it says failure to include a plan to do so in future research proposals may cause the shutoff of public funds to less than generous scientists.

Professional societies, including the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), scrambled to alert their members to the draft policy, which the NIH says is merely an extension of standard policies on research materials.

FASEB at first couldn't decide whether to send the policy to its animal care committee or to the panel that reviews...

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