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The federal appeals court that handles patent cases has dealt a blow to universities hoping to patent basic research undertaken by their academics, according to a story in The Chronicle of Higher Education. And the court, says The Chronicle's Goldie Blumenstyk, knew exactly what it was doing.

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President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Eric Lander to serve as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Associated Press says.

Nature News writes that scientists are trying to figure out how to name the new strains of SARS-CoV-2 that are emerging.

The New York Times reports that researchers are studying identical twins who had COVID-19 to understand the influence of genetics on disease severity.

In PNAS this week: epistasis affecting cystic fibrosis, Tiger rattlesnake genome gives venom insight, and more.