WASHINGTON-The National Research Council wants to lend an in-dependent voice to the current stalemate on the release into the environment of genetically engineered organisms-but it lacks the cash. Its Board on Basic Biology concluded a two-day meeting last month with a resolution stressing "the scientific and economic urgency" of conducting such a study that would seek a scientific consensus on definitions and on classifications of risk.

Last year four federal agencies rejected separate requests to finance all or part of the $585,000 needed. Project Director Bill Walsh said the Board may sponsor a workshop or conference on the subject if it cannot conduct the larger study.

The Office of Technology Assessment is working on a similar report due out next year.

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