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Last week, President Barack Obama ordered the Presidential Bioethics Commission, chaired by Penn President Amy Gutmann, to review protections for subjects in federally funded scientific studies.

The review, which Obama gave a nine-month timeframe, is intended to ensure that federal and international standards “adequately guard the health and well-being of participants in scientific studies supported by the Federal Government.”

According to a White House memo, the review was ordered following the discovery that U.S. Public Health Service research on sexually transmitted diseases in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948 was “clearly unethical” and involved the “intentional infection of vulnerable human populations.”

Obama created the panel in November 2009, choosing Gutmann as chairwoman and Emory University President James Wagner as vice chairman.

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