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Lander Addresses Concerns

During a nomination hearing, the Broad Institute's Eric Lander said he would promote diversity and equity in science, Politico reports. It adds that Lander also addressed concerns about meetings he had with the financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

President Joe Biden nominated Lander as science advisor and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in mid-January, but his confirmation hearings had been delayed. As Politico previously reported, that delay was in part due to concerns about Lander's meetings with Epstein. While in front of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Thursday, Lander said he briefly met Epstein during two events in 2012 and didn't learn of his "sordid history" until later, Politico reports. It adds that Lander noted he had no other association with Epstein.

Lander also faced criticism that he had downplayed the contributions of women in science, particularly of Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier in the development of CRISPR. According to Politico, he acknowledged "understating" their contributions. "I made a mistake, and when I make a mistake I own it and try to do better," he said.

It adds that Lander promised to "make full inclusion and equitable outcomes a high priority" for the science office.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.