Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Eh, No Research Needed

Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) has recently been tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to run the White House Office of Management and Budget, and, as Vox reports, Mulvaney isn't keen on federally funded science.

During a debate regarding how much money to put toward combatting the Zika virus, Mulvaney wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post that the question was whether "we really need government-funded research at all?" Vox notes, though, that because the post was written during the Zika debate, it's unclear whether Mulvaney, who is a known deficit hawk, was referring to all government-funded research or just Zika research.

Mother Jones further reports that Mulvaney was down on Zika funding because there was uncertainty as to whether the virus actually causes microcephaly in infants. In his post, Mulvaney cited a press release on a New England Journal of Medicine study that noted that the rate of microcephaly was lower than expected in Colombia, and, to him, that suggested the link wasn't strong.

"His argument, in other words, was: Scientists aren't sure what's going on with Zika, so why do we need research?" Vox says.

Mother Jones also notes that, at that time of his post, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already concluded that the Zika virus caused microcephaly and other problems, and Vox points out that the study cited was preliminary and there has since been a spike in microcephaly cases in Colombia.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.