WASHINGTON - NIH Director Harold Varmus has decided to pull the plug on the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC), ending the requirement that gene therapy protocols be submitted to the committee for approval.

Varmus's decision will be published in the Federal Register soon, said Nelson Wivel, director of the RAC and NIH's Office of Recombinant DNA Activities (ORDA). There will be a 15-day public comment period, after which a final decision will be announced.