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Not As Bad

Science made the complete transcript of a recent interview with NIH director Francis Collins available, and Writedit at Medical Writing, Editing & Grantsmanship says that Collins was "a bit more encouraging — for those in basic research — than the printed excerpt." Collins says that he wants "to protect the basic science foundation of everything we do because that is our future. And I would certainly say to any R01 investigator who's worried about this that the vast majority of the discoveries that are going to matter are going to come from those hypothesis-driven investigator-initiated efforts," though he also wants "to inspire those individuals who may have thought of themselves as lifelong basic scientists to think translationally if the opportunity arises and not to feel that's off limits."

Writedit, though, is concerned. "However, the funding emphasis will remain on translational and applied research — accelerating cures … on cue, it seems. And the more pure basic science, seeking to serendipitously discover mechanism ... the way things work? I worry that these sorts of projects will be lost as "less productive" ... harder to explain to Congress," she writes.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.