He has piloted planes into African war zones, sweated through seven marathon races, and performed more than 250 heart-and-lung transplant surgeries. But moving science-related legislation through Congress may be the greatest challenge the new Senate Majority Leader William H. Frist has ever faced. The Republican senator from Tennessee officially took the mantle of Majority Leader last week, replacing Senator Trent Lott, who was ousted from the position in late 2002.

How the Harvard-trained transplant surgeon will act on science policy and funding issues is difficult to predict. He has long been a champion of science funding, and likely understands the technical side of issues dear to scientists' hearts better than most senators. However, his ascension to leadership of the Senate has been greeted with tempered enthusiasm from the science community.

Frist's clear stance in favor of banning "therapeutic" cloning, his role in inserting language into the Homeland Security Act barring...

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