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The US National Institutes of Health is seeking comment on its plan to require preclinical studies to include both male and female animals, tissues, or cells, Sally Rockey, the deputy director for extramural research at NIH, says at her Rock Talk blog.

Back in May, NIH Director Francis Collins and Janine Clayton, the director of the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health wrote a commentary in Nature saying that "[t]he over-reliance on male animals and cells in preclinical research obscures key sex differences that could guide clinical studies."

The request for information issued by NIH seeks input on whether considering sex as a biological variable in an issue affecting whether research findings are reproducible and generalizable as well as the areas of research that may most benefit from the inclusion of sex as a biological variable.

The agency is also interested in hearing about any stumbling blocks to considering sex as a biological variable in research and how NIH itself can help enable its inclusion in research it funds.

"Your input will help us shape policies that enhance the rigor of biomedical research, and in turn strengthen the foundation of clinical research," Rockey says at her blog.

The response period is open through October 13.