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Francis Collins and the Science Bloggers

Though the nomination of Francis Collins to direct the NIH was applauded and endorsed by many, others raise criticism, particular on Collins' "very public embrace of religion", as the New York Times puts it. As described in his book, The Language of God, Collins converted to Christianity at the age of 27. That's where Collins has encounter the vitriol of some science bloggers who say that Collins' faith will affect his ability to direct good science. PZ Myers says that Collins will be able to manage the institution well enough, but adds that "we can also trust him to drape Jesus over every major announcement, use the office as a platform for promoting religiosity." Similarly Jonathan Eisen writes that Collins will do the job well though he has "mixed feelings" and Larry Moran just says that the announcement is "bad news." At the Intersection, however, Chris Mooney is "glad of the choice. It elevates to new prominence someone who merges top tier science with religion–a powerful way to show that you really can have both in your life."

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.