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Sharon Milgram, director of the National Institutes of Health Office of Intramural Training & Education, fielded questions from participants at various stages in their scientific careers via live chat this week. When asked the importance of having co-authored a published paper when applying to grad programs, Milgram said that "papers are always a good thing, but many students get into very strong programs without a paper.

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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.