Roundup 4/22: Acid Test Edition

The NRC report on ocean acidification released today finds that, barring substantial curbs on carbon dioxide emissions, the ongoing decline in ocean pH will continue, with as-yet-unknown ecosystem changes guaranteed. The NRC panel did not put a price tag on its eight unranked research priorities.

At a Senate hearing where the NRC report was unveiled, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation would like to see the budget of NOAA's acidification research program nearly double next year, to $20 million. Cantwell doesn't hold the purse strings, but advocates say every bit of support helps.

Having faced criticism in the past for allowing experts with conflicts of interest to serve on its advisory committees, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that it is expanding requirements for how these conflicts are disclosed. In particular, they must be posted online for all to see.

Embryonic stem cell research in Michigan would be regulated under bills passed yesterday by the state Senate. The purchase or sale of human eggs would be prohibited, and universities would have to report the number of embryos they use. In a statement, the University of Michigan said: "The new reporting requirements included in these bills would do nothing to advance public health and would create a disruptive work environment for those engaged in this research." The bills now head to the Michigan House of Representatives.

Arizona State University has settled a long-running dispute with the Havasupai Indian tribe who live in the Grand Canyon. Its members alleged that DNA, originally collected for a diabetes study, was used more broadly than they thought it would be—including for studies of schizophrenia and ancestry to which tribe members later objected. The university will return the DNA samples, pay $700,000 to 41 members of the tribe, and provide additional funds to support the community.