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Science on Capitol Hill

Chris Mooney argues at the Intersection that the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment should be brought back. The OTA's mission was to be a source of "unbiased information concerning the physical, biological, economic, social, and political effects" of new technologies. The office was de-funded in the 1990s by Gingrich-led Republicans looking to cut costs. At Science Progress, Gerald Epstein, a former OTA staffer, discusses the office's history -- he says the "OTA won credibility by ensuring that its studies were technically accurate, analytically sound, and balanced with respect to stakeholder interests" -- and looks at the arguments against refunding it, namely that it moved too slowly, it was politically biased, and members of Congress can simply call scientists directly or look online. The Science Cheerleader adds that Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) plans to submit a request for funds for the OTA this week.

The Scan

Renewed Gain-of-Function Worries

The New York Times writes that the pandemic is renewing concerns about gain-of-function research.

Who's Getting the Patents?

A trio of researchers has analyzed gender trends in biomedical patents issued between 1976 and 2010 in the US, New Scientist reports.

Other Uses

CBS Sunday Morning looks at how mRNA vaccine technology could be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2.

PLOS Papers Present Analysis of Cervicovaginal Microbiome, Glycosylation in Model Archaea, More

In PLOS this week: functional potential of the cervicovaginal microbiome, glycosylation patterns in model archaea, and more.