Washington—After word of President George W. Bush's decision to allow federal funding for established embryonic stem cells leaked to the media early last month, one surprise was still left: at least 60 of the cell lines exist, Bush said on August 9. But less than a dozen had been announced, leading top researchers to question the newfound cells' viability and even their existence.
It turns out that behind the scenes, Lana Skirboll, PhD, director of science policy at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was canvassing the world. "We looked far and wide," she said at a news conference the day after the president's announcement. Most of the newly disclosed lines originated at private companies, all of which were apparently better at keeping secrets than Bush's staff.