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Not So Much

A federal district judge ruled that US President Obama's 2009 executive order that allowed for federal funds to be used to study an increased number of human embryonic stem cell lines violates a ban on federal money being used to destroy embryos, reports the New York Times. That ban, called the Dickey-Wicker amendment is passed each year by Congress and it disallows federal funds to be used for "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death." Chief Judge Royce Lamberth wrote that the distinction made in the Obama policy between the work that destroys the embryos and the work using the results of that was "meaningless," according to the Times. "If one step or 'piece of research' of an E.S.C. research project results in the destruction of an embryo, the entire project is precluded from receiving federal funding," Lamberth wrote.

The judge said that federal policy should return to the "status quo." The Times adds that few officials seemed to know what that meant and that the decision is being reviewed by the Justice Department. "This ruling means an immediate disruption of dozens of labs doing this work since the Obama administration made its order," Children's Hospital Boston's George Daley tells the Times.

The Scan

Latent HIV Found in White Blood Cells of Individuals on Long-Term Treatments

Researchers in Nature Microbiology find HIV genetic material in monocyte white blood cells and in macrophages that differentiated from them in individuals on HIV-suppressive treatment.

Seagull Microbiome Altered by Microplastic Exposure

The overall diversity and the composition at gut microbiome sites appear to coincide with microplastic exposure and ingestion in two wild bird species, according to a new Nature Ecology and Evolution study.

Study Traces Bladder Cancer Risk Contributors in Organ Transplant Recipients

In eLife, genome and transcriptome sequencing reveal mutation signatures, recurrent somatic mutations, and risky virus sequences in bladder cancers occurring in transplant recipients.

Genes Linked to White-Tailed Jackrabbits' Winter Coat Color Change

Climate change, the researchers noted in Science, may lead to camouflage mismatch and increase predation of white-tailed jackrabbits.