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David Koepsell at IPWatchdog argues that genes should not be patentable. In this post, and in his new book, Who Owns You, he says that "gene patents violate the patent law because what they claim as patentable is a part of nature, and thus neither new nor non-obvious" and that awarding patents on "non-new discoveries" does not encourage innovation but rather stifles it. Koepsell goes on to add that he views genes as "common" or something that cannot be owned.

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The New York Times reports that Cedars-Sinai researchers have uncovered a new strain of SARS-CoV-2 in Southern California.

The Financial Times reports the US bolstering its ability to track SARS-CoV-2 alterations.

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: pan-cancer atlas focus on miRNA biogenesis mutations, methylation analysis of pig skeletal muscles, and more.

President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Eric Lander to serve as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Associated Press says.