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Science and a Side of Diplomacy

A new Swiss program aims to back long-term science projects, such as tackling excess carbon in the atmosphere, the Associated Press reports. It adds that the program, called the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA), could also act as a body to settle scientific disputes.

According to the AP, the backers of GESDA, which include the Swiss government, say that the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for not only advanced preparation for pandemics, but also the need for diplomacy. "We could have perhaps been more prepared for the pandemic than we were today," Peter Brabeck, the former chair and CEO of Nestle, who was tapped by the Swiss to lead GESDA, tells the AP. "Only a scientific breakthrough is not enough. It has to be embedded in a diplomatic framework."

In a press release, GESDA says it is planning a summit in October to bring together UN officials, scientists, diplomats, and others to discuss key scientific issues including human genome engineering, quantum computing, space resources, and more.

The Scan

Guidelines for Ancient DNA Work

More than two dozen researchers have developed new ethical guidelines for conducting ancient DNA research, which they present in Nature.

And Cleared

A UK regulator has cleared former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, according to the Financial Times.

Suit Over Allegations

The Boston Globe reports that David Sabatini, who was placed on leave from MIT after allegations of sexual harassment, is suing his accuser, the Whitehead Institute, and the institute's director.

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

In Nature this week: genetic and environmental influences of esophageal cancer, domestic horse origin traced to Western Eurasian steppes, and more.