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President Obama Signs 21st Century Cures Act Into Law

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – President Barack Obama signed into law yesterday the 21st Century Cures Act, a sweeping biomedical research funding bill that had garnered strong support from Republicans and Democrats alike.

Key provisions of the act include an additional $4.8 billion over 10 years for the National Institutes of Health to fund key programs, with $1.4 billion earmarked for the President's Precision Medicine Initiative, $1.8 billion for Vice President Joe Biden's Cancer Moonshot, and $1.6 billion for the BRAIN initiative. The bill would also provide $500 million to the US Food and Drug Administration, and streamline the way the agency approves drugs and medical devices.

The legislation was first approved by the US House of Representatives in mid-2015, and later most its key provisions were cleared by the Senate's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee.

However, wrangling over how the bill would be funded delayed its final passage until this month, when the House again voted in favor of the legislation by a vote of 344 to 77. The Senate passed the bill a week later by a vote of 94 to 5, with the President at the time expressing his intention to sign it into law as soon as it crossed his desk.

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.