WASHINGTON – The government says it’s back in the business of funding embryonic stem-cell research — at least for now — after an appeals court temporarily lifted a judge’s ban.

The National Institutes of Health said Friday it is resuming its own research and will again evaluate applications from scientists who are seeking taxpayer money to do the work, a process that has been frozen since late last month.

An appeals court Thursday temporarily stayed a judge’s preliminary order barring that funding until it can hear full arguments in the next few weeks.

Scientists who already received NIH grants had been told to continue working until their dollars ran out, but 22 projects due to get yearly checks in September would have to find other money.

Now the question is whether the NIH will finish the reviews required for those projects during what could be only a temporary reprieve.

Embryonic stem cells are master cells that can turn into any tissue of the body. Researchers hope one day to harness that power in ways that cure spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease and other ailments.

Culling stem cells from embryos left over after fertility treatment kills a days-old embryo.

A 1996 law prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars in work that harms an embryo, so batches have been culled using private money.

But those batches can reproduce in lab dishes indefinitely, and government policies say using taxpayer dollars to work with the already created batches is permissible.