U.S. shorts farm animal research say scientists
By Marg Land
May 6, 2009, East Lansing, MI — Dwindling federal funding jeopardizes
important animal research, a group of Michigan State University
May 6, 2009, East Lansing, MI — Dwindling federal funding jeopardizes important animal research, a group of Michigan State University scientists warn.
The alarm was sounded in the journal Science by MSU researchers James Ireland, George Smith, Jose Cibelli and five colleagues from other institutions. It comes just as the landmark sequencing of the domestic cattle genome is reported in the same issue.
Only $32 million of the $88 billion 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture budget went toward competitive farm animal research grants, the group wrote. The proportion of the National Institutes of Health budget for extramural support of human health research is more than 900 times larger, they said, while U.S. livestock and poultry sales exceed $132 billion annually.
Seventeen Nobel laureates have used farm animals as research models, they wrote, and new information on animal genetics promise new insights into genetic and environmental influences on animal production and human disease.
Ireland and colleagues want increased federal consideration for large-animal models in grant awards and for establishment of dedicated research centers.