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Back from Wherever Dead Projects Go

US lawmakers are seeking to bring back the National Children's StudyScienceInsider reports.

The National Children's Study, which never got past the pilot phase, planned to sequence the genomes of 100,000 babies and collect environmental, lifestyle, and medical data on them until they turned 21. However, the project was plagued by scientific disagreements and mismanagement — one researcher noted in December that there wasn't one standard way to recruit families to the project, a flaw that would make the data difficult to evaluate — and ended.

But now, ScienceInsider reports that Congressional spending committees have called for a new version of the study — dubbed the National Children's Study Alternative — and plan to fund it at the same level as the previous incarnation, $165 million a year.

The lawmakers say in an associated report that they were "disappointed" by the decision to disband the NCS and want the National Institutes of Health to develop a new long-term, 10-year plan.

A House Republican staffer tells ScienceInsider that "after spending more than $1 billion [on the NCS], we believe instead of having all the research wasted that it needs to be reformed and refocused."

ScienceInsider notes that NIH seems to be moving ahead with a new NCS-like study, as it requested $158 million in 2016 for pediatrics research related to the NCS's goals and as NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak told an advisory committee last month that the agency is looking at "creating a synthetic cohort from existing longitudinal studies."

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