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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

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.