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Slashing Here and There

A nearly 20 percent budget cut for the US National Institutes of Health is included in the budget blueprint for fiscal year 2018 announced by the Trump administration, as GenomeWeb has reported.

The White House's "America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again" sets the framework for the administration's plan to scale back government, the Los Angeles Times adds. It notes that this proposal is only an outline and that Congress has the authority to determine government spending levels and appropriate funds.

Still, the budget blueprint seeks to make cuts to a number of science funding agencies. As GenomeWeb notes, the report calls for a $5.8 billion reduction to NIH's 2018 budget, which would decrease it to $25.9 billion. It adds that the report also proposes a reorganization of the agency, including eliminating its Fogarty International Center and folding in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

At the same time, ScienceInsider reports that the budget proposal calls for slashing the Department of Energy's Office of Science budget by about 20 percent. Budget decreases were also outlined for the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and NASA's Earth science program. DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy would be eliminated, according to ScienceInsider. Nature News notes that the report does not mention the National Science Foundation.

The proposed NIH cut has left the United for Medical Research troubled, according a separate ScienceInsider post. "A cut of such magnitude would have serious repercussions on medical research, jobs, and the economy," UMR President Lizbet Boroughs says in a statement. "It would stymie major progress toward treatment and cures of diseases, and be felt by all Americans."

The Scan

Cancer Survival Linked to Mutational Burden in Pan-Cancer Analysis

A pan-cancer paper appearing in JCO Precision Oncology suggests tumor mutation patterns provide clues for predicting cancer survival that are independent of other prognostic factors.

Australian Survey Points to Public Support for Genetic Risk Disclosure in Relatives of At-Risk Individuals

A survey in the European Journal of Human Genetics suggests most adult Australians are in favor of finding out if a relative tests positive for a medically actionable genetic variant.

Study Links Evolution of Stony Coral Skeleton to Bicarbonate Transporter Gene

A PNAS paper focuses on a skeleton-related bicarbonate transporter gene introduced to stony coral ancestors by tandem duplication.

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.