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Science and the American Economy

In a recent Washington Post op-ed, conservative commentator George Will says that some of his Republican brethren are being a little shortsighted when they talk about cutting science budgets. Government support is necessary for innovation, and America needs science and engineering education and research in order to stay competitive, he adds: US undergraduate institutions hand out 16 percent of their degrees in science or engineering, while the numbers in South Korea and China are 38 percent and 47 percent, respectively. "With populism rampant, this is not a propitious moment to defend elites, even scientific ones. Nevertheless, the nation depends on nourishing them and the institutions that sustain them," Will writes. "Republicans are rightly determined to be economizers. They must, however, make distinctions."

HT: Kevin Noonan at Patent Docs

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.