[Nature] Californians voted to go into debt to fund embryonic stem-cell research. Will the state know if it recoups its landmark investment?
The US National Institutes of Health spent only $38 million on human embryonic stem cell (ES cell) research last year, out of $643 million on stem-cell research overall. Although scientific research funding is usually considered a federal responsibility, California voters have decided to pony up vastly greater sums for ES cell research within the Golden State.
Passed in 2004, Proposition 71 authorizes a newly created state institution to borrow up to $3 billion over the next 10 years for human ES cell research. The governor's budget, proposed in May, struggles to trim California's operating deficit to $1.4 billion. So even in a state that spends more than $100 billion annually, these funds are a significant investment.
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