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Cell Biologists Go Their Own Way

The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)--a small but aggressive group whose members include such scientific leaders as molecular biologists Harold Varmus and Bruce Alberts--has decided to strike out on its own. The ASCB board voted last week to split from the 67,000-member umbrella group known as the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) in 2001.

The 9000-member ASCB can use its "limited resources more effectively" if staffers don't have to spend time coordinating with FASEB's policy review process, says ASCB president Randy Shekman. The society will continue to work with FASEB, he notes, but will focus on its own key interests. For example, FASEB took no position this year on federal funding of human stem cell research, while ASCB lobbied intensely in favor of government backing for the controversial studies. FASEB issued no comment on the ASCB's departure.