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Review of Science Integrity Policies

President Joe Biden has created a task force to review scientific integrity policies at US federal agencies, Science reports.

The creation of the task force — which has 120 days to conduct its review — was part of a memorandum President Biden issued focusing on restoring trust in the government through evidence-based policy decisions. "Scientific and technological information, data, and evidence are central to the development and iterative improvement of sound policies, and to the delivery of equitable programs, across every area of government," the memo says. "Scientific findings should never be distorted or influenced by political considerations."

As Science notes, the memo largely reiterates laws passed by Congress and memos issued by the Obama Administration and is seen as a criticism of the Trump Administration. 

In particular, the memo calls on the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to ensure federal agencies have and enforce scientific integrity policies. At the same time, the task force is to examine whether integrity policies that are in place have been able to thwart any improper political interference, any deviations from policies that have occurred, and determine what effective practices are.

The Scan

Sensor to Spot SARS-CoV-2 Exposure

Yale researchers have developed a sensor that gauges SARS-CoV-2 exposure, according to the New Haven Register.

Watching BA.2

A subtype of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant has been found in a number of countries, the Washington Post says.

Vermont Weighs Genetic Discrimination Bill

VT Digger reports Vermont legislators are considering a bill to bar insurer from denying customers coverage based on genetic information.

PNAS Papers on Convergent Pathogen Effectors, Lineage-Related RNA Mutations, Desiccation-Tolerant Grass

In PNAS this week: convergent evolution of pathogen effectors, algorithm to identify cell lineage features, and more.