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Cliff Avoided, But…

While US politicians have come to a deal to prevent the so-called fiscal cliff, that resolution "keeps researchers on tenterhooks" by delaying the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration for two months, to the beginning of March, Nature reports. Such cuts would include an 8 percent reduction in funding for non-defense spending, and could lead to a decrease in the federal research and development budget of $57.5 billion over five years, Nature adds.

"The bill isn't ideal," Eleanor Dehoney, the vice president of public policy at the science-advocacy organization Research!America, tells Nature. "But it does give advocates more time to convince policy-makers that cutting the US investment in R&D is counterproductive."

The White House has said that it wants to protect research, ScienceInsider adds, noting that President Barack Obama said, upon the passage of this new legislation, that "we can't keep cutting things like basic research and new technology and still expect to succeed in a 21st century economy."

Like before, if Congress can come up with other ways to save the amount of money sequestration would cut, it can be avoided, though Nature notes that this new deadline will come up at nearly the same time as when Congress has to work on the overall federal budget.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.