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New Rules: Dec 20, 2010

The Obama administration released long-awaited scientific integrity guidelines on Friday that aim to prevent political influence on scientific research conducted by government agencies, The New York Times reports. "Under the guidelines, government scientists are in general free to speak to journalists and the public about their work, and agencies are prohibited from editing or suppressing reports by independent advisory committees," the Times says. In response to criticisms of how scientific work was treated during the Bush administration, President Obama called on his science advisor John Holdren in March 2009 to come up with these guidelines within four months and Nature's The Great Beyond notes that watchdog groups are suing to discover the cause of the delay. Response to the guidelines appears to be cautious praise. "It does some incredible things," Francesca Grifo at the Union of Concerned Scientists tells the Los Angeles Times. "But it leaves a lot of crucial details in the hands of the agencies as they implement it."

The Scan

Gone, But Now Reconstructed SARS-CoV-2 Genomes

In a preprint, a researcher describes his recovery of viral sequences that had been removed from a common database.

Rare Heart Inflammation Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is adding a warning about links between a rare inflammatory heart condition and two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, Reuters reports.

Sandwich Sampling

The New York Times sent tuna sandwiches for PCR analysis.

Nature Papers Describe Gut Viruses, New Format for Storing Quantitative Genomic Data, More

In Nature this week: catalog of DNA viruses of the human gut microbiome, new dense depth data dump format to store quantitative genomic data, and more.