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The 27 institutions and research units of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) make up the national health department of the United States. NIH employs more than 20,000 scientists and staff. The agency traces its roots to 1887 when the first national laboratory was created at the Marine Hospital.

Since that time, members of the agency have been involved in all aspects of health. Since the mid-1950s when the first bone marrow transplant took place in New York and opened new avenues of medical research, NIH has been involved in various aspects of biomedical research and policy making. By 1998, scientists at the University of Wisconsin had succeeded in isolating and culturing stem cells from embryos. The following year, NIH took the official position that stem ...

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