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Back to Basics

With all the emphasis lately on translational research, Steve Caplan from the University of Nebraska Medical Center writes at The Guardian's Occam's Corner blog that he has "decided to come out of the scientific closet, and openly declare my support of non-translational, basic research."

Caplan adds that he finds the sharp focus on translational research — many grant proposals now center on disease — a bit worrisome. "My fear is that an entire generation of basic researchers in the US will be culled away from the fundamental questions in science, leading to a widening chasm between new discovery and specific applications over the next 10-15 years," he writes.

And many clinical discoveries stem from basic discoveries, he says, pointing to penicillin, the polio vaccine, and X-rays.

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.