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President Obama says he plans to appoint Harold Varmus as director of the National Cancer Institute. Varmus has served as the president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center since January 2000, and is a former director of the National Institutes of Health under former President Clinton, as well as the co-recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, according to the White House statement.

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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.