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Science  19 Dec 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5909, pp. 1779
DOI: 10.1126/science.322.5909.1779b

Last month, Science launched a policy blog, ScienceInsider, providing news and analysis on science policy around the world. Postings include breaking news covered more in depth in the magazine as well as news that doesn't appear in print:

Museum layoffs prompt backlash. Archaeologists around the world are condemning the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology for planning to lay off 18 researchers, in particular one of the world's leading archaeobotanists, Naomi Miller, who has been in the field for 30 years. News of the layoffs, announced late last month, has ricocheted through the global archaeology community. Director Richard Hodges says the museum will find money to retain the scholars …

Scientists seeking stimulus. A collection of U.S. research universities is making the case for science to be included in legislation aimed at reviving the moribund economy. In a letter to President-elect Barack Obama, the 62-member Association of American Universities (AAU) proposes $2.7 billion in immediate spending on academic buildings, scientific equipment, and young researchers. AAU joins a long line of interest groups hoping to tap into an economic stimulus package …

Bioethics guidance from Rome. The Vatican has issued a new document addressing the morality of various developments in biotechnology, including in vitro fertilization, germ-line gene therapy, and so-called altered nuclear transfer (ANT). Dignitas Personae, issued at a Vatican press conference 12 December, is mainly a clarification of previously known positions. It does take a cautious line on ANT, which at least one Catholic bishop had endorsed. The technique was developed to find a way to produce stem cells from cloning without ever producing a viable embryo. Scientists have attempted to inactivate certain genes required for embryo development so that instead of producing an embryo, they produce disorganized cells—which nevertheless can be used to make stem cell lines. The document, however, takes a dim view of the effort …

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