Life sciences lose in State of the Union

In his linkurl:State of the Union;http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/01/20080128-13.html address last night, President Bush asked Congress to double the funding of basic research in the physical sciences, but asked life scientists to keep their work "ethical," reiterating his stance on the need for legislation banning human cloning. To bolster his call to ban human cloning, the President cited recent research by Yamanaka and Thomson, who both reported last November that stem cell-lik

Andrea Gawrylewski
Jan 28, 2008
In his linkurl:State of the Union;http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/01/20080128-13.html address last night, President Bush asked Congress to double the funding of basic research in the physical sciences, but asked life scientists to keep their work "ethical," reiterating his stance on the need for legislation banning human cloning. To bolster his call to ban human cloning, the President cited recent research by Yamanaka and Thomson, who both reported last November that stem cell-like cells could be reprogrammed from adult skin cells (you can read about it linkurl:here).;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53873/ This work, he said, "has the potential to move us beyond the divisive debates of the past by extending the frontiers of medicine without the destruction of human life." The President continued by asking Congress to pass legislation that would ban the "buying, selling, patenting, or cloning of human life." But stem cell researchers hardly agree that work on embryonic cells is now obsolete. A statement from...
o double the funding of basic research in the physical sciences, but asked life scientists to keep their work "ethical," reiterating his stance on the need for legislation banning human cloning. To bolster his call to ban human cloning, the President cited recent research by Yamanaka and Thomson, who both reported last November that stem cell-like cells could be reprogrammed from adult skin cells (you can read about it linkurl:here).;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53873/ This work, he said, "has the potential to move us beyond the divisive debates of the past by extending the frontiers of medicine without the destruction of human life." The President continued by asking Congress to pass legislation that would ban the "buying, selling, patenting, or cloning of human life." But stem cell researchers hardly agree that work on embryonic cells is now obsolete. A statement from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) said that Bush distorted the scientific facts of stem cell research, and that the scientific community still considers human embryonic stem cell research "the gold standard for research into pluripotent cells." Bush also stressed the need to "empower" scientists to conduct groundbreaking research and remain competitive internationally. But just as in his address linkurl:two years ago,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/23032/ he extended that support to the physical sciences, in a call to double funding in that arena, conspicuously leaving out the life sciences. The President urged medical researchers to rely on their "innovative spirit" to empower them to discover new treatments. Critics say that the America COMPETES act, which was supposed to double funding to the National Science Foundation and strengthen education in technology and engineering, didn't received the financial support it needed. Congress passed the act last year, but never passed funding for it (read more linkurl:here).;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53476/ The act never included a specific science education component, and the President's budget last year proposed cutting funding for K-12 education activities at the National Science Foundation, noted U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon in a statement. "This year, the President's FY2009 budget needs to better reflect the priorities of the America COMPETES act, which he signed into law last year."

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