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BIOTECHNOLOGY SCIENCE COORDINATING COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED

Executive Summary

BIOTECHNOLOGY SCIENCE COORDINATING COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED by the White House to coordinate science issues related to research and commercial applications to biotechnology. Notice of the establishment of the biotechnology committee was published in the Nov. 14 Federal Register. The committee will report to the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering and Technology, which is housed within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The White House originally proposed that a Biotechnology Science Board be located within HHS, but critics complained that the entity would rival NIH's Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee and might give the impression of an HHS bias on federal biotechnology issues. Under the White House plan, the biotechnology committee will not conduct a second-level review of commercial and research applications. The NIH director and the FDA commissioner would serve as members of the biotechnology committee. Other members would be selected from the Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Science Foundation. NSF's assistant director for biological, behavioral and social sciences and the NIH director would chair the committee on a rotating basis. According to the Federal Register notice, the committee will: serve as a coordinating forum for addressing scientific problems, sharing information, and developing consensus; promote consistency in the development of federal agencies' review procedures and assessment; facilitate continuing cooperation among federal agencies on emerging scientific issues; and identify gaps in scientific knowlege. The Federal Register notice also contains a revised matrix of laws, regulations and guidelines related to biotechnology. The matrix has been divided into seven parts: licensing and other premarket requirements; post-marketing requirements; export controls; research and information gathering; patents; air and water emissions; and requirements for federal agencies.
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