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Most Rejected

A US ethics board has rejected most of the applications it reviewed for using human fetal cells in research, ScienceInsider reports.

Last year, the Trump Administration announced that it would be curbing intramural research at the National Institutes of Health that used fetal tissue and would be limiting the extramural research it funds that uses fetal tissue. NIH then said grant applications involving fetal tissue work would involve added paperwork and an additional ethics review.

As ScienceInsider reports that the ethics review board has examined 14 proposals and rejected 13 of them. It adds that the applications, which included both grants and contracts, had already been recommended for funding by scientific reviewers and met legal requirements for the ethical use of fetal tissue. It notes the board could only consider ethical aspects of the applications and rejected the 13 applications due to insufficient informed consent, inadequate justification for the amount of tissue needed, and insufficient grounds for using fetal tissue, among other reasons.

ScienceInsider writes that 10 of the 15 review board members publicly oppose abortion, fetal tissue research, embryonic stem cell research, or contraception, and that only one review board member is an advocate for fetal tissue research.

The final call on funding the applications is up to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, it adds.

The Scan

Less Than Half

An effort to reproduce key findings from high-profile preclinical cancer studies finds less than half could be replicated, according to the Scientist.

Still Some SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing Holes

The Wall Street Journal reports that viral genomic surveillance has improved in the US, though says there are still gaps.

Avoiding Passing Them On

People with known disease-linked genetic variants are turning to in vitro fertilization so as to not pass those variants to their children, the Washington Post says.

PNAS Papers on Long Cell-Free DNA in Maternal Plasma, Genetic Propensity for Voting

In PNAS this week: long, cell-free DNA of maternal and fetal origins identified in maternal plasma, and more.