Important US research to reduce HIV infection may have been prevented in recent years because scientists have censored their funding requests in response to political controversy, according to a study published on Tuesday.
Writing in PLoS Medicine, the academic journal, Joanna Kempner from Rutgers University identified a "chilling effect" on researchers seeking grants from the government-backed National Institutes of Health after their work was questioned by Republican lawmakers and Christian groups.
The findings suggest politics influence scientists' willingness to conduct research, and raise warnings at a time of continued sensitivity over medical research topics from sexual behaviour to stem cells.
Among 82 researchers polled by Ms Kempner, who had received money from the NIH, almost a quarter had dropped or reframed studies around sexual behaviour they judged to be politically sensitive, and four had made career changes and left academia as a result of the controversy.
Read full story here. (Log-in required)