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Michael White has a post at Adaptive Complexity about the value of building mathematical models in understanding biological systems. "There is a big gap between biophysicists and physiologists - in the realm of molecular, cell, and developmental biology, the value of building mathematical models is not widely accepted," he writes, noting that part of the reason may be how much progress has been made in molecular biology without having to lean on such models.

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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.