The charter of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) expires in October and its staff and members haven't received any hints from the Bush White House about the prospects for its continued existence. NBAC reports directly to the president, and a decision to keep the body alive would come from President Bush.

Given NBAC's positions on stem cells - its recommendation that government should fund both the derivation and use of embryonic stem cells was politically unpalatable for President Clinton - and the distaste expressed by conservative religious groups for academic bioethics practitioners, a decision to