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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

Driving Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes Down

Researchers from the UK and Italy have tested a gene drive for mosquitoes to limit the spread of malaria, NPR reports.

Office Space to Lab Space

The New York Times writes that some empty office spaces are transforming into lab spaces.

Prion Pause to Investigate

Science reports that a moratorium on prion research has been imposed at French public research institutions.

Genome Research Papers on Gut Microbe Antibiotic Response, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Clues to Metabolism, More

In Genome Research this week: gut microbial response to antibiotic treatment, approach to gauge metabolic features from single-cell RNA sequencing, and more.